Yes, yes, we have covered Peter Lorre in our Monday Quiz format, once before on May 19 of this year. Why, then, a repeat?
Well, we are belatedly celebrating the “season” of 22 Lorre movies unspooled in London by the British Film Institute. The retrospective concluded last week. This on top of a re-release of Fritz Lang’s M at U.K. cinemas in September. Lorre is in fashion this fall across the pond, and we couldn’t be happier. We just can’t get enough of the guy.
The former Laszlo Lowenstein from somewhere in the old Austro-Hungarian empire was almost as bizarre offscreen as he was on — in nearly 155 movie and TV credits spread over two continents and a 35-year career. That’s quite a bit of work given that Peter Lorre died of a stroke early, at age 59 in 1964.
He acted with the best, and appeared in some of the best films ever to come out of the old studio system. Lorre is well worth knowing even more about, and that’s the aim of today’s Monday Quiz, this time inspired by an informative “Making Faces” article in the October issue of Sight & Sound magazine.
New questions covering points not made in our May 19 Peter Lorre Quiz. (Answers tomorrow.) Here we go.
1) Question: Lorre knew Lotte Lenya from his early Berlin years, and once told her that “I make faces.” What did he mean? a) He was describing his role as Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon; b) He was referring to his work in all of his Hollywood movies; c) The role of black market dealer Ugarte in Casablanca; or d) His comic sidekick turn in John Huston’s Beat The Devil.
2) Question: Fritz Lang’s M provided the role that established Lorre as an actor of power. What does the “M” stand for? a) Mugger; b) Child murderer; c) Moneygrubber; or d) Mortal sin.
3) Question: Charlie Chaplin said he saw M three times, and determined that Lorre was: a) A ham; b) Was game but not up to the task; c) An actor of genuine potential; or d) The greatest actor in Europe.
4) Question: Fritz Lang cast Lorre in M because he was impressed by the actor’s previous movie parts stretching over a number of years. a) True; or b) False.
5) Question: Lorre was known for his practical joking and it got him in trouble in Hollywood. MGM boss Louis B. Mayer wasn’t laughing when, accompanied by political bigwigs visiting the set of the 1943 drama The Cross of Lorraine, he summoned the actor by saying: “It seems strange to see you in a Gestapo uniform. How do you keep yourself in character?” Lorre’s response was, I eat a Jew every morning for breakfast. a) True; or b) False.
6) Question: Although he was a Austro-Hungarian Jew, Lorre successfully played a Japanese character in a low-budget Fox film series. Can you name the series? a) Lassie movies; b) Charlie Chan mysteries; c) Mr. Moto series; or d) The Saint series.
7) Question: His role in 1941’s The Maltese Falcon introduced Lorre to frequent screen collaborator Sydney Greenstreet and to Humphrey Bogart’s Sam Spade character. What other key association resulted from this picture? a) Lorre’s introduction to director John Huston; b) The beginning of a lifelong friendship between Bogart and Lorre; c) A romance with Mary Astor; or d) A troubled relationship with character actor Elisha Cook Jr.
8) Question: Lorre at one point left Hollywood, returned to Europe and directed a movie of his own. What is the title of the picture? a) The Lost One; b) Crime and Punishment; c) Mad Love; or d) Stranger on the Third Floor.
9) Question: From his early Twenties and for most of the rest of his life, Lorre was addicted to: a) Alcohol; b) Cocaine; c) Sex; or d) Morphine.
10) Question: In Frank Capra’s Arsenic and Old Lace, Lorre found himself in unusually lighthearted company. Which of the following was not in the movie? a) Raymond Massey; b) James Gleason; c) Jack Carson; or d) Zsa Zsa Gabor.