Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Whine Cellar

Be careful with whom you are boozing
Beware, or with doom you'll be schmoozing
In his kitchen he'll sit,
While you're pitching a fit
Downstairs in a tomb--how amusing!

Vincent Price and Peter Lorre in "The Black Cat," the middle episode of Tales of Terror (Roger Corman; 1962). Title by that connoisseur of fine whines, David Cairns.

Happy new year from all of us at LimerWrecks! Please be careful out there tonight.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Falcon Quest

This rat pack, deterred, has long lusted
For this statue, a bird, jewel-encrusted
No ifs, ands, or buts,
They're a little bit nuts
And that means their word can't be trusted. 

Sam Spade, Joel Cairo, Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and Kasper Gutman all want the black bird: Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor, and Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon (John Huston; 1941).

Monday, December 29, 2014

Double Act of Violence

One's portly, one's slender and slight
Fat and courtly or gender-bent mite?
They are Kasper and Joel
The clasper, the mole
Let's deport both offenders outright.

David Cairns

Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) and Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet) are two of the characters in search of The Maltese Falcon (John Huston;1941). Members of the Warner Brothers stock company in the 1940s, Lorre and Greenstreet appeared together in 9 films.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Knockout of the Past

Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) socks Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) in The Maltese Falcon (John Huston; 1941). Lorre and LimerWrecks will be back in action on Monday.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Five Graves to Joel Cairo

Playing vermin, effete and assorted
This worm we call Peter's imported
He'll blow up, make a scene
Maybe rupture a spleen
Body squirming, his features contorted.

"You imbecile!" As Joel Cairo, Peter Lorre throws a fit in The Maltese Falcon (John Huston; 1941); with Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman. These screengrabs were found on the blog of animator John K., who used Lorre as the inspiration and voice model for Ren, the hot-tempered Chihuahua in the cartoon The Ren & Stimpy Show.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

IT Came Upon a Midnight Fear


To the girls and good boys IT gives back
So it hurls all its toys in a sack
As to those not so nice,
They lie frozen in ice
From Surly, that poisonous Hack.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all from the Surly Hack.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I Saw Lorre Killing Santa Claus

By the tree there's a horrible clatter
It's strike three for Pete Lorre, the batter
All the blows struck were foul
And he goes for a towel
To clean up the gore and gray matter.

Peter Lorre takes a swing at Santa in a Warner Brothers publicity photo from 1942. They say that's Sydney Greenstreet as Santa, but I have my doubts. In any case, the elves at LimerWrecks wish all of you a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Smell Man Syndrome

Like a rat through the back way he's sneaking
With a gat he'll attack, fragrance reeking
His demeanor demented,
With gardenia he's scented
It's the statue in black that he's seeking.

Peter Lorre plays petulant, gardenia-scented Joel Cairo, and Humphrey Bogart is private eye Sam Spade, in The Maltese Falcon (John Huston;1941). Title by odoriferous David Cairns.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Heaven Scent, Hell Bent

His card with bouquet is perfumed
This charlatan's gay, it's assumed
Joel Cairo has flair
But it's buyer beware
He's a varlet, dear Spade, though well-groomed.

David Cairns with Surly Hack

Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) calls on Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) in The Maltese Falcon (John Huston;1941).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Beat the Devils

Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre on the set of Beat the Devil, 1953. Photo by Robert Capa. LimerWrecks and Lorre will return on Monday.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Third Man-iac

With this stranger try never to tangle
He's a danger from ev-er-y angle
On your stoop late at night
Down he'll swoop, hold you tight
And, deranged, will endeavor to strangle.

Peter Lorre threatens Margaret Tallichet in the proto-film noir, Stranger on the Third Floor (Boris Ingster; 1940).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Slaughterhouse-Five Fingers

You're in the appendage's grasp
Round your windpipe its tendrils now clasp
You'd shout but you're choking
What comes out sounds like croaking 
In a minute you'll end with a gasp.

The hand throttles Peter Lorre in The Beast With Five Fingers (Robert Florey; 1946).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hot Dread-Handed

Despite bodily harm, it's not moldering
It's quite hot, five-alarm, and it's smoldering
It can make a good fist
But it breaks at the wrist
And ignites minus arming or shouldering.

David Cairns

In The Beast with Five Fingers (Robert Florey; 1946), Peter Lorre is musicologist Hilary Cummins, so terrorized by a severed hand that he throws it in the fire.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Take Five -- Fingers

Looking ghastly, this bad boy comes crawling
Rather nasty, it's had quite a mauling
Though its fingers are burning
Still the thing keeps returning
'Til at last, into madness you're falling.

Peter Lorre is haunted by The Beast with Five Fingers ( Robert Florey; 1946).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Die Charred

For vengeance it fervently yearns
But an end in a furnace it earns
Though the heat is appalling
Out the creature comes crawling
To mend from the third-degree burns.

Hilary Cummins (Peter Lorre) watches as the severed hand crawls from the fire in The Beast With Five Fingers (Robert Florey; 1946).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bless the Beast and the Chilled Men

Peter Lorre and The Beast With Five Fingers will return on Monday. You can't stop them.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Agony and Ivory

On piano it flailed, played a chord
In a panic, it's nailed to a board
Its premiere thus curtailed,
Its career was derailed
For the hand simply failed to record.
Peter Lorre nails The Beast With Five Fingers (Robert Florey; 1946). Title by David Cairns, who agonizes over his film blog, Shadowplay.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Amputee For Two

Though the pianist dies, hand's not stopping
It's set free, you surmise, with some chopping
See it crawl like a spider
You're in thrall, eyes grow wider
Till they seem, in surprise, to be popping.

Peter Lorre eyes The Beast With Five Fingers (Robert Florey; 1946). Title by amputeetotaler David Cairns.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Handy Mansion

Hang your head as you sit by the fire
Filled with dread, brow a-knit, you perspire
Without heart or a brain,
Still the part is a pain
Body dead, it won't quit or expire.

Peter Lorre finds he's unable to incinerate The Beast with Five Fingers (Robert Florey; 1946).

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Five Fingers of Death Warmed Over

You're nearing the lunatic fringe
Keep hearing that tune you'll unhinge
But this beast won't expire
Hasn't ceased, though on fire
And to searing's immune--not a singe!

The Beast with Five Fingers ( Robert Florey; 1946): Musicologist Hillary Cummins, (Peter Lorre) is driven mad by the severed hand of a dead pianist, which keeps playing the same composition, over and over. That piece is Brahms' transcription for left hand of the chaconne from Johann Sebastian Bach's Violin Partita in D minor, performed by Warner Bros. pianist Victor Aller.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Disembodied Handel

While a bone, cut away, may protrude,
It is prone to a gay, upbeat mood
Though a feared curiosity
It shows weird virtuosity
On its own it can play an étude.

Surly Hack with David Cairns

Peter Lorre lends an ear to the hand in The Beast with Five Fingers ( Robert Florey; 1946).

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Peter Lorre Inventory

LimerWrecks will return on Monday with more Peter Lorre.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ben Folds Five Fingers

Though the rest of its carcass is missed,
Still this pest of a part will persist
Quite grotesque in the clinches
Across desktops it inches
Try your best, but it's hard to resist.

Peter Lorre stars in The Beast With Five Fingers (Robert Florey; 1946). Sure, some other actors are billed above Lorre, but who cares about them?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Little Fright Music

There's no peace, no mistaking the sounds
It's the beast, and it's making the rounds
It repeats a refrain
Which just beats on your brain
It won't cease, though your aching head pounds.

Peter Lorre is driven mad by The Beast with Five Fingers ( Robert Florey; 1946).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thousand Eye-Land Dressing

A hotel which is teeming with eyes
Where the bellhops, it seems, are all spies
When that master called Fritz
At long last calls it quits
In farewell, early themes he'll reprise.

The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse) is the last film by Fritz Lang, which he directed in 1960. Title character Dr. Mabuse had appeared in earlier films by Lang back in 1922 and 1933. And compare the title frame from the 1960 film (top) to the frame from Metropolis(above), which Lang directed in 1929. Posted as part of The Late Show, the blogathon of late films.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Patsy Hurts

If you spend your career making merry
You may end, your ribs aching, with Jerry
Leave 'em laughing at last
On behalf of the cast
And we'll send you from here on the ferry.
The Patsy (Jerry Lewis; 1964) was Peter Lorre's final film. Lorre died in March 1964, several months prior to its release. Left to right: John Carradine, Keenan Wynn, Jerry Lewis. Phil Harris, Everett Sloane and Lorre. Posted as part of The Late Show, the bloathon of late films.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Show of Hand

You're confounded, your sanity's snapping
From the sound of one hand somehow clapping
Out of sorts, nerves a-jangle,
With your shorts in a tangle
From the mound in your pants you've been crapping.

Peter Lorre loses it in The Beast with Five Fingers (Robert Florey; 1946).