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  • mistermuse 1:54 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Peter Lorre, ,   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: MORE “BAD” ACTORS 

    In my previous post dealing with “bad” actors, we looked to the stars before turning to the character actors….but Hollywood’s Golden Age produced so many great bad character actors that only ONE such showing would be an injustice. So, before making my getaway from these characters, I’ll need to do more than one more post.

    Let’s begin this post with a name mentioned in my last post, PETER LORRE. Here he is, along with two accomplices, committing an act so unconstrained, it’s almost unbelievable:

    OK, that wasn’t exactly the typical Lorre performance you expected. But if you’ve seen CASABLANCA and THE MALTESE FALCON (and what classic movie fan hasn’t?), you’ve seen the classic Peter Lorre. So let’s put a wrap on that bird with this:

    Next, we turn to Lorre’s frequent “partner in crime” movies, SYDNEY GREENSTREET:

    We close this segment with a name you may not remember, but who could forget that character:

    TO BE CONTINUED….

     

     

     
    • moorezart 2:23 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Rivergirl 3:33 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Love it!
      Casablanca is one of my all time favorites. Did you know Ronald Reagan was originally slated to play Rick? I can’t even wrap my mind around that.

      Liked by 5 people

      • mistermuse 4:47 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        I vaguely recall that about Ronald Reagan. The only worse casting I can imagine would be Donald Trump to play Abraham Lincoln.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Elizabeth 5:13 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t remember if I have already shared this. Every exam period the movie theater in Cambridge had a Bogart film festival. So I saw all of those films several times over. I loved Greenstreet and Lorre too. Of course I always imagined it was me that Bogie was looking at.

      Liked by 3 people

    • calmkate 5:44 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      With all these men their expressive eyes are the winners!
      Thanks for expanding my knowledge 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 6:41 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Kate, you might say “The eyes have it with these guys? (as opposed to Trump, who tries to pull the wool over our eyes).

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 6:43 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink

          he can only do that with absolute morons, any one with brains can see the psychopath for what he is …

          Liked by 3 people

    • Carmen 7:38 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Well, that was a great blast from the past!

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:10 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Carmen. On that note of tribute, I’ll share with you a bit of trivia which I’m not sharing with anyone else: the first clip’s “Sweet Siberia” song (and entire score of SILK STOCKINGS) was composed by none other than Cole Porter. I’m only telling you that because I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU.

        Like

        • Carmen 8:59 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink

          I’ll consider that my birthday present. . . And yes, it’s sweet 62! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 9:21 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Been there, done that. But Happy Birthday anyway, Carmen, despite the envy you make me feel!

      Like

    • davidbruceblog 9:28 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on davidbruceblog #2.

      Liked by 2 people

    • masercot 6:58 am on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I loved Lorre in the Mr. Moto movies. I’m interested in “yellow-face” in old movies. There are bad cases of it, such as the Charlie Chan series; however, Lorre and Karloff portrayed Asian detectives in a very straightforward way. Lorre’s Moto was a nice mix of ethics and ruthlessness. He was essentially Raymond Reddington on The Blacklist…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:08 pm on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        I didn’t see much of Mr.Moto when I was young, probably because the Charlie Chan series was on TV frequently and I became a big Chan fan (as I got older, not so much). My favorite in the “sleuth” genre was Sherlock Holmes, played so well by Basil Rathbone. I think some of the Homes films still hold up fairly well today.

        Like

    • smbabbitt 1:18 pm on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Cook appeared in some marvelous films, and outlived most of the actors whose roles required them to insult or torment him. And deserves to be especially remembered for the memorable drumming scene in PHANTOM LADY.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:03 pm on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Some actors’ character portrayals are so one-of-a-kind that you never forget them. Cook was certainly one such actor. Here’s the scene you mentioned (actual drumming dubbed by jazz drummer Dave Coleman):

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Dashiell Hammett, Edgar Allen Poe, , , , Howard Hawks, , , , , movie poster art, , Peter Lorre, Raymond Chandler, , ,   

    HOLLYWOOD, DEAD LEFT ON VINE* 

    The film noir of the classic period (1941-59) is normally associated with the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood and its aftermath. In truth, the creative impetus for its most influential literary content dates back a full century.
    In April 1841, Graham’s Magazine in Philadelphia published the first detective story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe and thus, mystery fiction was born. –
    -Lawrence Bassoff, CRIME SCENES

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    In my 11/30/16 post titled BOOKS RIGHT DOWN MY ALLEY, I wrote of finding a large cache of old movie books at a local library’s used book sale. One of those books was CRIME SCENES (subtitled Movie Poster Art of the Film Noir), from which the above quote is taken. How could I resist buying such a book, given that Film Noir has long been one of my favorite film genres, which includes such classics as THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), MURDER MY SWEET (1943), DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944), LAURA (1944), THE BIG SLEEP (1946), SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950), and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951). The introduction states it “is the first genre retrospective collection of movie poster art on the topic ever published in book form.”

    Bassoff writes that in the summer of 1946, ten American films whose French releases had been blocked by WW II (including the first five of the above) arrived in Paris theaters to be viewed by “new product-starved French filmgoers”….films based on American novels the French called “Serie Noire” by such authors as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. The term “film noir” (first attributed to Frenchman Nino Frank in 1946) literally means “black film” for the “often low key, black and white visual style of the films themselves.”

    And what great films they are! Even after having seen some of these films more than once, I could return to the scene of the crime once again;  no doubt you could too — assuming you’re a film noir buff, which it would be a crime if you’re not. The test? Can you name at least half of the directors and stars of the above films? Answers (directors in CAPS):

    THE MALTESE FALCON — JOHN HUSTON (making his directorial debut), Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet
    MURDER MY SWEET — EDWARD DYMTRYK, Dick Powell
    DOUBLE INDEMNITY — BILLY WILDER, Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
    LAURA — OTTO PREMINGER, Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price
    THE BIG SLEEP — HOWARD HAWKS, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
    SUNSET BOULEVARD — BILLY WILDER, William Holden, Gloria Swanson
    STRANGERS ON A TRAIN — ALFRED HITCHCOCK, Farley Granger, Robert Walker

    Moving on: if Basssoff’s book were not confined to Hollywood film noir, no such list would be complete without THE THIRD MAN (1949), a British-made classic directed by Carol Reed, starring Orson Wells and Joseph Cotton. And of course there are many other Hollywood tour de force classics worthy of being kept alive, including such killer-dillers as:

    WHITE HEAT is considered by some to be in the gangster film realm rather than film noir, but there’s no law against crossover — in fact, WHITE HEAT is classified as film noir in CRIME SCENES and gangster film in CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS (the latter being another used book sale find, which I may review in a future post). Meanwhile, I highly recommend the former — as Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) said of the bogus Maltese Falcon: It’s “the stuff dreams are made of.” And nightmares.

    *HOLLYWOOD, DEAD LEFT ON VINE is a play on the famous intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. I heard on the grapevine that the site was a ranch, and then a lemon grove, until 1903.

    20161005_Hollywood_and_Vine_historical_marker

     

     
    • linnetmoss 7:03 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Good fun–I will never forget the creepiness of seeing Fred MacMurray in “Double Indemnity,” after growing up with him in Disney movies like “Son of Flubber”!

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 7:41 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Now that you mention it, I recall thinking the same thing the first time I saw “Double Indemnity.” And I can’t think of a better way to characterize these ‘bad’ movies than as “good fun” — seriously!

        Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 10:29 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Living la vida noire out here on the Left Coast, Sr. Muse. Did you see that the head of the European Union was going to start advocating for US states to leave the Union in retaliation for Trump promoting the dissolution of the EU? Ohio was specifically mentioned. Hopefully, I won’t need a passport to visit you if I ever get the chance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:24 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I hadn’t heard (or seen) that, Ricardo, but I think the best place to start would be to advocate for Trump to leave the union….better yet, leave the planet (though I can’t imagine that the inhabitants of any other world would be gullible enough to fall for Trump’s con job).

        Like

    • BroadBlogs 4:28 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      My mom loves old movies. She’d love this list!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:22 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Prudence dictates keeping my posts to a reasonable length, or I’d have listed many more movies. Sometimes I wish Prudence would mind her own business! 😩

        Like

    • Don Frankel 5:04 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great movies of course I’ve seen them all and more than once. They did a remake of Out Of The Past called Against All Odds with Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward and James Woods. In a bit of smart casting they also had Jane Greer in there.

      But White Heat is one of the all time any type of movie you want to call it and no mention of it would be complete without…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:20 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        These movies had it all: great writing, atmosphere, directors, stars, supporting casts — the works. I’ve only watched WHITE HEAT once or twice, but I’ve seen MALTESE FALCON and THE THIRD MAN at least 5 or 6 times each, DOUBLE INDEMNITY and SUNSET BOULEVARD probably about 3 times.

        Like

    • MĂ©l@nie 11:00 am on March 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I did watch them all… just like you, I may have seen “Maltese Falcon” 4-5 times! 🙂

      • * *

      @film noir – en français dans le texte, SVP… 🙂 MERCI, Monsieur Muse!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:34 pm on March 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Mercy me — I fear my very limited French fails me in getting the gist of the sentence before “SVP” (which I understand stands for “s’il vous plait”). If you please, please translate into English. Merci!
        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • MĂ©l@nie 3:25 am on April 5, 2017 Permalink

          SVP = s’il vous plaĂźt = please… 🙂 you’re too modest, Sir… my very best and respectful regards, MĂ©lanie Bedos

          Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 4:44 pm on March 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, , , , , , Jack Benny, Maltese Falcon, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Peul Henreid,   

    WHAT A CHARACTER….ACTOR 

    I have in the past noted the birthdays or deaths of a number of star actors. Yesterday marked the death of an actor who may not have been a leading man-type star, but was one of the leading and most unforgetable character actors of all time. If you’re a fan of classic movies of Hollywood’s Golden Age, you’ve seen him as Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon and as Ugarte in Casablanca. I refer to Laszlo Lowenstein – better known as PETER LORRE (June 26, 1904 – March 23, 1964).

    Humphrey Bogart may have been THE star (along with Ingrid Bergman in the latter of those films), but for my money, the secondary players were no less memorable: Sydney Greenstreet, Mary Astor, Elisha Cook Jr., Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Conrad Veidt and, of course, Peter Lorre.

    Lorre was born Laszlo Lowenstein in Austria-Hungary and began his film career in Berlin in the late 1920s, making his first big splash as a child murderer in the German film M in 1931. After fleeing Hitler’s persecution of Jews, he made his first English language film, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, in 1934. He then moved to Hollywood where, after several years, his career entered a period of decline until Director John Huston cast him in The Maltese Falcon in 1941, and the rest is mystery….along with occasional comedy – speaking of which, here he is in a guest appearance on the Jack Benny Show in 1963:

     
    • scifihammy 12:59 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Always knew he was in a film when you heard that unique voice. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaeline Montezinos 3:40 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, that is correct. Peter Lorre had a distinctive voice. He also appeared with Cary Grant in a film I just saw again on TCM, something about a ship from Singapore on the China Sea. At first I did not recognize Lorre with the facial hair. He had a sparse goatee of some kind which made him look like the Jew he was in real life. He played the nefarious captain of that junkee ship. On board was also some of the famous character actors Muse described. Jean Harlow in her break out role was a petty thief trying to escape the law with Gable as her guide.

        Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:20 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Right, scifihammy – not to mention knowing he was in a film when you read the credits – hahahaha. 🙂

        Michaeline, that film sounds vaguely familiar. Now you’ve made me curious, so I’ll have to check and find the title, because I think I may have seen it many years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

        • scifihammy 7:52 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink

          Well I usually caught a glimpse of the middle of a film my Dad was watching – and I recognised Lorre from his voice 🙂
          Nowadays there’s probably only George Clooney with ‘the voice’ – but there used to be James Mason, Richard Burton etc etc

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 9:15 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink

          And let’s also give credit to certain actresses (men weren’t the only actors with distinctive voices). Some who come to mind were Billie Burke (of Glinda the Good Witch fame), Mae West, Marjorie Main, and Mae Questel (the voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl).

          Liked by 1 person

        • scifihammy 11:40 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink

          Marlene Dietrich 🙂

          Like

    • ladysighs 5:12 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I agree about the secondary characters. They had character. 🙂 You couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the parts Lorre did.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:25 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Right on. That’s what made the great character actors great – they “owned” the parts they played.

        Like

    • Don Frankel 6:54 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “Wait weren’t those German Couriers carrying Letters of Transit?”
      “Poor devils.”
      “That’s right Ugarte I am a little more impressed with you.”

      You mean that guy and that movie?

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:41 am on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, I can picture the scene even as you mention it (as well I should – I’ve seen CASABLANCA so many times, I Must Remember This….and just about every scene in the movie).

      Like

    • mistermuse 1:46 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Strange that you should mention Marlene Dietrich, ladysighs, because I was going to include her in my reply to you this morning, but by the time I started typing in the other names, I forgot hers. Either I’m getting old, or…..I forget what else.

      Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 5:12 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse, I think that movie I described had the words “the ship and on the China Sea (s)” if that is of anyhelp in finding the title. Sorry I do not recall the title but mainly I remember the characters, if the film was not a huge box office success. Some movies are not appreciated until they have aged, like good wine.
      I think CASABLANCA was not a favorite of the critics and theater going public at the time it was realeased. Later it did become one of the the Top Ten favorite movies. One of my favorites is the movie with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak called VERTIGO. There were not many character actors in that one as Novak managed to dispense of any witnesses to her crimes. Ha! Ha! She was so scary playing two characters.

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      • mistermuse 7:53 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Michaeline, I think the film you saw was actually titled CHINA SEAS because it was on TCM last week (March 16), the plot is similar to your description. and Jean Harlow was one of the stars – however her co-star was Clark Gable (not Cary Grant), and Peter Lorre is not listed in the cast. A thorough search reveals that Harlow and Cary Grant were together in only one picture (SUZY), and Peter Lorre wasn’t in that one either.

        As for VERTIGO, it’s not only one of my favorite Hitchcock films, but one of my favorites by any director….but then, Hitchcock made at least a half-dozen of my “favorite” films!

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    • Michaeline Montezinos 5:14 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I liked your recall of dialogue, Don Frankel, from the film, Casablanca. Very good memory you have. How many times have you seen it? I have lost count of my viewings.

      Like

      • Michaeline Montezinos 9:41 pm on March 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I do not know why I confuse Clark Gable with Cary Grant. Maybe because they have the same initials..C G? I also confuse two actresses who look alike and have similar names. This has been going on since I fell and bruised my brain. I hope this not going to be a permanent problem. It might drive my poor husband up the wall every time he gently corrects me. mistermuse, thanks for your corrections. What would I do without your good memory? It is far better than mine.

        Liked by 1 person

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