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The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  75 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Often typecast as a menacing figure, Peter Lorre achieved Hollywood fame first as a featured player and later as a character actor, trademarking his screen performances with a delicately strung balance between good and evil. His portrayal of the child murderer in Fritz Lang's masterpiece M (1931) catapulted him to international fame. Lang said of Lorre: "He gave one of the ...more
Hardcover, 613 pages
Published September 30th 2005 by University Press of Kentucky (first published September 1st 2005)
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123rd out of 291 books — 60 voters
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Community Reviews

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Inez Parra
Jan 19, 2009 Inez Parra rated it really liked it
i've been reading this book forever!!!! it takes breaks in between other reads and that's not because it's awful or anything....BUT i certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't a Peter Lorre freak. at times it's a bit dry and overloaded with more information than anyone could ever want to retain. a positive BUT is that there are many bits of Lorre magic that make me feel happy--my favorite parts are when we get to relive some of his old radio performances!
Lorre is a fascinating figure. He began in the ferment of Weimar Germany, was a central part of Brecht's theatre company in the twenties and early thirties, fled Germany after Hitler came to power (I had no idea Lorre was Jewish), was a working actor in Hollywood and early radio. He had the acting chops to be far more than a character actor and film heavy, but both his distinctive looks and Hollywood corporate culture worked against him. The writer of this biography, while strong on biographical ...more
Jun 29, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Maybe five stars is extravagant but Lorre is fascinating--he worked with Brecht in Germany and Youngkin presents him intelligently.
Barry Hammond
Jan 09, 2014 Barry Hammond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always appreciated Peter Lorre's acting from classics like The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and others (even some of his 60's stuff like the Roger Corman films The Raven and Comedy Of Terrors and Tales Of Terror) but this is a really detailed and terrific biography, which covers his whole career from beginning to end. It details his work in Europe too, where he was a member of Bertolt Brecht's troupe and his years as an emigre in both Europe and America. It's a very serious look at a very ser ...more
May 11, 2013 Yasmin rated it it was amazing
An amazing account of an amazing and undervalued and underappreciated actor of his time. Lazlo Lowenstein better known as Peter Lorre was a man far ahead of his time. This is not well used cliché in this instance. He was remarkable as one of the early pioneers of self improvised theatre and film works. His technique not modern by our standards now was unusual and rare in that he sincerely believed and expressed himself from the inside out. He wanted to bring realism to his role, which he succeed ...more
Jim Dooley
Jul 08, 2013 Jim Dooley rated it really liked it
Taking the title from a film that Lorre hoped would be his ticket to renewed success (and wasn't), this book tells the amazing story of a great performing artist who became known for his supporting roles and was frustrated by the possibilities that were beyond his reach.

I first became familiar with Peter Lorre through one of my favorite series characters, Mr. Moto. In this book, I learned that it was a role he detested, finding that it only used a small portion of his abilities. He may have been
Peter Jakobsen
Nov 12, 2014 Peter Jakobsen rated it liked it
Standard, almost obsessively detailed reference book on the whispering
menace. Peter gets to stroll the green lanes of Paradise for his work in M, Mad Love, Crime and Punishment, Strange Cargo, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and Beat the Devil. He gets censured for taking work away from actors of certain nations and ethnicities, e.g., Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Russian, Dutch and Irish (although I doubt the authenticity of that last one, from Beat the Devil).
Michael Peterson
Wish it was more about him

It seemed to contextual the events around him instead of just giving us a book about the man. Not a bad read but wish it was a little more personal.
Oct 09, 2015 Brett rated it really liked it
Highly detailed.
Aug 03, 2007 Alexis rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Not worth interlibrary loaning. I should have been warned by the table of contents:

"Who are you, really?" -- Facemaker -- M is for morphine -- Escape to life -- Softly, softly, catchee monkey -- Being slapped and liking it -- Insider as outsider -- The swamp -- Smoke gets in your eyes -- Elephant droppings -- The mask behind the face -- Mimesis .

Peter Lorre deserves better!
Feb 25, 2011 Mark rated it liked it
Though I enjoyed the book, it kind of went of on tangent and came back slowly. At times a paragraph would start in one year and end in 5-10 years in the past. It is sad that he so wanted to break into comedy but was typecast. Yet he was so unique in the roles he played.
Jun 04, 2014 Olivia rated it liked it
This book gave a lot of detail and at times too much detail. It would mention a person Lorre worked with then go on with that persons life store. Just on and on and on for pages.
Barry Harding
Apr 02, 2010 Barry Harding rated it it was amazing
Outstanding biography. Winner of Rondo Hatton Award a few years back. One of the best biographies I've read. Essential film reading.
Jun 26, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: pleasure, nonfiction
While this is a very interesting biography at times it's a little too full of detail so that it becomes digressive.
Sep 02, 2014 j_ay marked it as to-read
Apr 09, 2009 Dan rated it it was amazing
Only comprehensive bio of Lorre; full review later.
Jan 21, 2009 Frederick marked it as to-read
So far, I'm finding this fascinating and informative.
Ahlia rated it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2016
Brandon marked it as to-read
Jan 16, 2016
Ricky Grove
Ricky Grove marked it as to-read
Jan 13, 2016
Kate marked it as to-read
Jan 13, 2016
Ryan Hopping
Ryan Hopping rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2015
Carole France
Carole France marked it as to-read
Dec 30, 2015
Barry marked it as to-read
Dec 10, 2015
Paul marked it as to-read
Dec 02, 2015
Tina Denson
Tina Denson marked it as to-read
Nov 22, 2015
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Official Lorre Website 1 4 Dec 19, 2010 12:25PM  
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