Awful Little Men
• Devlin took Eleanor and David Mack and me up to the “Silver Scream” showing of Mad Love – apparently Peter Lorre’s first American movie role. What an amazing movie – it’s a hodgepodge of German Expressionist sets, Grand Guignol, and broad comedy veering unexpectedly to horror -and back again. Lorre’s the brilliant (but, of course, demented,) surgeon, Doctor Gogol. There’s a beautiful actress he’s obsessed with. There’s her famous pianist husband, who has his hands crushed in a train accident. Gogol transplants the hands of a recently-guillotined murderer (who happened to be a knife-thrower for a circus,) onto the pianist, with the expected result. There’s even a drunken housekeeper with a parrot.
• After the movie Eleanor said that young Lorre “looked like a beautiful baby.” I had to admit it was true. There were all these long lingering closeups on him, all this velvety modeling of shadows on his bald head. One of the cinematographers apparently later worked on Citizen Kane.
• The spook show before the movie was great as well. They also showed a Three Stooges short. Lest you trust Eleanor’s judgement TOO much, she also called the Three Stooges “awful little men.”
• Here is a little snippet of a project I am working on: