All those Fritz Lang posts reminded me of something related to voice acting. Lang directed a quintessential German expressionist film called “M,” one of my favorite movies. This movie was one of Peter Lorre’s earliest screen performances.
Few individuals have been imitated or mimicked more than Lorre. His voice is basically the universal Igor voice. His mark on voice-acting and animation itself must be mentioned. He has inspired so many different characters simply by existing. His demented, almost perverted voice and his very suave yet villainous appearance made him a sort of muse for animators. He has been the inspiration for character’s like Ren from Ren & Stimpy to N. Gin from the Crash Bandicoot series.
I would also like to say that aside from his larger than life character, Lorre was one of the finest actors who ever lived. While he was mostly resigned to playing scoundrels, villains, and other unsavory characters, he gave each character special care and attention. For someone who was so distinct in the mind of the public, Lorre was amazingly versatile. He was also in some of the best movies ever made. “M” was an almost flawless film, but he is better known for his work with John Huston and Humphrey Bogart. He played the cut-throat opportunist Ugarte in Casablanca and the sinister, and sexual, Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon. I love Peter Lorre, and I just want to end this post with following quote by one of my favorite directors, and personal heroes, John Huston.
"Peter Lorre was one of the finest and most subtle actors I have ever worked with. Beneath that air of innocence he used to such effect, one sensed a Faustian worldliness. I’d know he was giving a good performance as we put it on film but I wouldn’t know how good until I saw him in the rushes." -John Huston
PS - Someone needs to make a biopic about John Huston. The man was absolutely extraordinary.