As part of his ongoing Cinemachat series at BAM, film historian and critic Elliott Stein takes us back to the days of Old Hollywood with a Peter Lorre Double Bill, featuring The Face Behind the Mask (1941) and Stranger on the Third Floor (1940). Stein has described the great character actor—best known for his roles as shady or downright criminal opportunists in films like The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca—as an artist with “two faces . . . who achieved fame with a delicate balance between good and evil.” In The Face Behind the Mask, Lorre plays a kind-hearted, hardworking immigrant who loses everything after his face is ravaged by a fire and turns to crime as a means for survival. He shows his more sinister side as an eerie-looking throat-slicing serial killer in Stranger on the Third Floor, considered to be the very first noir film. A Q&A with Stein follows.
Wed., April 23, 7 p.m., 2008