Saturday, February 13, 2010

They Could Read the Phonebook to Me: Peter Lorre

Because I already don't have enough (failing) series, I decided to add another one! ;-D

Waaaay back, well MONTHS ago, I started working on a post of my favorite voices. It got so, so, so, so long - it wasn't even funny.

So, I decided to just make it a series. One voice at a time until I'm done (which will be in like five years). I'm starting out with one of my very favorites voices EVER!

Mr. Peter Lorre.

Peter Lorre is not only one of my top twenty favorite actors, he also has seriously one of THE coolest voices ever. It is unique and instantly recognizable. I LOVE it.

Watch one of my favorite scenes from probably my favorite Lorre film:

I simply adore listening to him (slightly drunk) arguing with Jonathan over who has a higher body count - the aunts or Jonathan. His exclaim of, "Don't brag!" always makes me laugh hysterically.

Now here is poor Peter attempting to hide his voice from the What's My Line panel. He gives it a valiant try, but even his high squeaks of "uh huh" and "uh uh" are instantly recognizable:

And although, this post is all about his voice, his facial expressions are really too amazing. That look of defeat on his face as he is forced to admit who is, it just priceless!

Embedding was disabled on this next clip, so I just had to post a link:

Casablanca clip

His famous scene is Casablanca is just too great. He's in the film for all of five minutes, yet he leaves as one of THE most memorable characters. I, of course, tribute this ALL to his voice! ;-D SERIOUSLY, his "Hello, Rick!" is like the coolest thing ever!

Okay, he doesn't necessarily talk much in this clip, but the description of him, and the murmurs of German are too amazing. And that sigh/laugh at the end = brilliance.

Now, this is Peter Lorre being cool and singing AND dancing in Silk Stockings (Just for the first couple of minutes):

His sorta hopeful, "Siberia, I don't know...maybe it won't be so bad after all" is just fascinating. It's obviously comedy. (And he was really a brilliant comedian, utterly underrated though.) But, it becomes so funny because he plays it completely straight. It adds definition to this tiny supporting role in a Fred + Cyd musical!

In this clip Peter's part starts at 5:00 and goes to about 7min or so:

Peter plays a spoof of all his sly, foreign villains in this film, and it's just great! Of course his character, Kismet, is working on getting his American citizenship, which is why he's memorizing facts about the American government. I don't know why, but I get SUCH a kick out of the way he say's "STUPID!" It's just so distinct. And SOOO Peter.

Okay, well, I think that MAYBE that's enough clips of Peter Lorre! ;-D But, really, I just adore everything about his voice. It's cool. It's one-of-a-kind. It's unforgettable. And, really that just sums up Mr. Lorre himself.


Come back very soon for my next installment featuring a British actor, who I could listen to for HOURS!


Elizabeth said...

O how I LOVE LOVE LOVE Peter Lorre's voice! It has such a weird hold over me! Have you listened to any of his radio shows? His most popular one was Mystery On the Air. You can listen to most of them here:

Millie said...

YESSSS! "Weird hold" is a PERFECT description of his voice! Ahaha!

Oh, no, I haven't! WOWZIE KAZAM! I MUST IMMEDIATELY! Thanks!

Kate Gabrielle said...

yay I love Peter Lorre!!! When I do my voice thing I'm just going to do one post, I think, but I don't have as many favorites as you.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE that clip when they describe Peter Lorre on the phone. It cracks me up every time!! It's only like the second classic movie I ever saw, actually!

And I love him on What's My Line! He's so funny! I loved it when he sheepishly gave in at the end! lol.

Millie said...

Hahaha, yeah, I'm pretty obsessive about voices...haha!

I CAN'T wait for your post!

I KNOW! It's utterly brilliant. The way he acts it out, with his face and everything is too amazing. WOWZIE KAZAM! That's cool. It's one of my favorite movies EVER. It actually has THREE of my top twenty actors in it! Cary, Peter, and James Gleason.

I know. He's like, "I'm afraid so..."

Clarity said...

Beautiful clips. I remember first watching "Arsenic & Old Lace" at a dinner party when I was little - still good.

STOP PRESSES: You have to add Franchot Tone to the list of best movie voices, "mellifluous":

He brought the lovelies.

Millie said...

Thanks. Yes, it's certainly a great classic!

Haha, well, yes, I do LOVE Franchot Tone's voice. I'll HAVE to add him. My favorites are the films he does with Deanna Durbin, like His Butler's Sister and Because of Him!

Robby Cress said...

What a fun blog topic! I'm now instantly thinking of all my favorite voices. Certainly one would be Vincent Price. I would love to have some books on tape with his voice. And as a kid I always liked Phil Harris's voice (Baloo, Lil John, Thomas O'Malley the alley cat).

Millie said...

Oh, OF COURSE! I ADORE Vincent's voice! I really just LOVE it!

Ooh, that's another great choice!

Sally said...

Great post!! Are you really going to make a series of this because that would be so neat! I'd love to read it!

Elisabeth said...

Have you seen Hollywood Canteen? The scene where he and Sydney Greenstreet appear as themselves and play off their screen villain roles? So funny!

Herald7 said...

Great post and nice selection of clips. And I agree about the What's My Line clip, he doesn't even need to talk to be amazing, hehe.

Here's my Peter Lorre Blog entry on the Hollywood Canteen cameo if you like:


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