Thursday, October 16, 2008

Peter Lorre, the scene stealer

It was 1924-1925. Peter Lorre in his early years on the stage had very quickly earned the reputation of a scene stealer. Hilde Wall, the later wife of Max Ophüls, remembered sharing the stage with Peter Lorre who in that particular performance played the insignificant role of a servant. His little bit was to come in and announce that Frau Schultz was here to see her. That's all he had to do, just come in, say those words and go out. Lorre came in and sat down. "Of course, you know Frau Schultz," he said. "Yes, of course I know her," Wall said, simply trying to follow along. Lorre pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and looked up. "She's been here quite a few times lately, hasn't she?" "Yes, of course, she's a friend of mine." Lorre drew long drafts, puffing the moment into something greater, stubbed out his cigarette, and then got up. "Well, Frau Schultz is here to see you." he said, finally delivering his one and only line. On that, he exited and the audience applauded.

Taken from the newly published biography of Peter Lorre "The Lost One" by Stephen D. Youngkin.


  1. Hi, Douglas! Thanks for posting that great story about Peter Lorre "beefing up" his walk-on part. It's one of my favorites from The Lost One. Early in his career, Peter decided he wanted to be the kind of actor who could "play small parts big", rather than an actor who plays "big parts small". I hope you'll visit the Lost One website, too:


  2. Hi Cheryl,
    Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment. I must say I am thoroughly enjoying reading this book and I was quite surprised to find out the close collaboration of Peter Lorre with Bertolt Brecht in Berlin in the 1920s. Very interesting website.