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The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre

by Stephen D. Youngkin

Availablepaperback$35.00s 978-0-8131-3606-6
Availablecloth$70.00x 978-0-8131-2360-8
680 pages  Pubdate: 01/06/2012  6.129 x 9.25  74 b&w photos

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. Today, the Hungarian-born actor is also recognized for his riveting performances in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The Maltese Falcon (1941), and Casablanca (1942). The first biography of this major actor, The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre draws upon more than three hundred interviews, including conversations with directors Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, John Huston, Frank Capra, and Rouben Mamoulian, who speak candidly about Lorre, both the man and the actor. Stephen D. Youngkin examines the enigmatic persona long associated with one of classic Hollywood’s most recognizable faces, offering the definitive account of a life triumphant and yet tragically riddled with many failed possibilities.

Stephen D. Youngkin is coauthor of The Films of Peter Lorre and Peter Lorre: Portrait des Schauspielers auf der Flucht. He appeared as an expert biographer on the German television documentary Das Doppelte Gesicht (The Double Face) and A&E’s Biography tribute to Peter Lorre.

Winner of the 2005 Rondo Hatton Award -- Winner of the Best Book of 2005 in the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

Youngkin gets behind the image to incise a definitive portrait, and Lorre becomes a likeness we can like in-depth. -- Choice

Youngkin's massively researched opus, drawing on over 300 interviews he conducted, lives up to the task of conveying Lorre's personal tragedy. . . . Readably written, spiced up with occasionally very amusing anecdotes, acerbic asides and insightful conclusions. -- Cineaste

The colossal assemblage of research has been whipped into a compelling biographical narrative. -- Filmmonthly

Youngkin makes a strong case for Lorre as one of cinema's most underrated actors, exploring in detail his early stage work in Europe, his largely forgotten performances in radio and television, and of course his role as the child murderer in Fritz Lang's classic crime film M, which would forever define Lorre as a celluloid bogeyman. -- Florida Newspaper

Youngkin peels back the layers of Lorre's life to reveal a fascinating, nuanced individual who struggled with intellectual issues in the midst of glamour and fame. -- Library Journal (starred review)

As the very first biography of Lorre, The Lost One does not disappoint. . . . A welcome revelation indeed. -- MovieMaker

Youngkin's life of Lorre is a monumental piece of research and sheds new light on a career that has too long been ignored and undervalued. -- San Diego Union-Tribune

You couldn't ask for a better book about Lorre. It will become the single most important book about Lorre's life and career, without question. -- Washington Post Book World

[The book] is one of the finest biographies of an actor ever written, on a par with Patricia Bosworth’s Montgomery Clift and Charles Winecoff’s Split Image: The Life of Andy Perkins. -- Herbert Shadrack --

Finalist for the 2005 Theater Library Association Award.

A good book on an important film figure [who] certainly deserves this exhaustive look at his life and
career. -- Great Old Movies

Finalists for the 2005 Theater Library Association Award