Peter Lorre

He played the saddest killer of them all,
hunted by police. And chased by gangsters too.
He killed. He couldn’t think what else to do
to fill his need. And when they made him crawl

and beg for mercy, it seemed only just
that he should weep, who had made mothers cry.
So many other parts, in most he’d sigh
pull a sad face. Be villains that we trust

because they know themselves. It was the drugs
he had to pay for. And he slowly sank
who was once great. And yet most of us thank
him for a few great roles. Two strangling thugs

admired him so much they chose not to slay
his daughter when they picked her up one day


About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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3 Responses to

  1. selenak says:

    Wow. Aside from this being a great poem, I hadn’t known the story about Lorre’s daughter!

    His performance in M was something I saw after having seen old Lorre in the Disney 20 000 Miles under the Sea (one of his few non-villainous roles), and none of his other American roles; I didn’t even realise it was the same man. It still, gazillion of serial killer films later, has that strong emotional impact. Well, M in general does, with everyone from Fritz Lang downwards being on top of their game…

    • rozkaveney says:

      There was a thread on John Shirley’s Facebook about this story; it was the Hillside Strangler and his sidekick. I always assumed that serial killer fanboydom existed though maybe it was just Neil’s power of convincing invention, but yet again he proves right.

  2. That’s gorgeous. Thank you.

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