Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Peter Lorre
DER VERLORENE/ aka The Lost One/1951. Director: Peter Lorre. 

NOTE: This is a report on the movie as opposed to a review. The only print I could find of this film was in German with no sub-titles, but I had a detailed synopsis of the film which told me what was going on. However, as there was no way I could judge the effectiveness of the dialogue, I will withhold a verdict until I see the film with an English soundtrack or sub-titles.

In the only film ever directed  by Lorre, he plays Dr. Karl Rothe, who was the former director of bacteriological research under the Nazi regime. Now he has changed his name and works as a well-liked doctor at a post-war German refugee camp. Into the camp comes Hosch (Karl John), who had been his assistant before the war, and now -- also under an assumed name -- becomes his assistant once again. Meeting Hosch brings back unpleasant memories to Rothe, such as when he murdered his own fiancee when it was revealed that she was a traitor. Now he can't control his urges to kill other women. some of whom escape and some of whom do not. Finally Rothe can no longer live with himself.

Der verlorene got a mixed reaction, with some feeling that it was an uncomfortable mixture of politics and thrills; other contemporary critics felt it was one of the best films to come out of Germany in years. The picture is undeniably gloomy, well-photographed by Vaclav Viche, and there's a very powerful (if perhaps too often overwrought) musical score by Willi Schmidt-Gentner. For much of its length Der verlorene reminds one of nothing so much as a "B" noir thriller, and there is some suspense in certain sequences. Two of the best scenes involve trains, one concerning a murder, and the striking final shot of a train bearing down on Rothe that seems right behind the actor.  As far as I can judge, the performances in the film  seem to be quite good. 


angelman66 said...

The fact that this one is so rare points out the continuing necessity for film preservation. So many films have already been lost...

William said...

Yes, it would be ironic if a film called "The Lost One" got lost!