Tom Gregory's Hollywood Vault radio clips, as featured on Leeza Gibbons' national radio program Hollywood Confidential!
Below is a transcript of the review on the audio file playable above.A maniacal murderer, an inebriated landlady, a stoical statue of wax, a confused constabulary, a nosey newshound, the stunning, screaming woman, and her anemic husband, all team with a Mad Scientist to rise to the top of my list as a forgotten horror classic, that’ll have you screaming with delight and appreciation for a man named Lorre.
1935’s MGM classic Mad Love is the perfect late-night horror film. Based on a 1920 novel, this hidden horror thriller stars Peter Lorre in his American film debut.
Lorre is the lunatic surgeon Dr. Gogol. He’s crazy over, nuts about, and just plain mad for the love of the alluring actress Yvonne Orlac. A life-size wax statue next to his pipe organ is a close as horsey Lorre is ever going to get to the angelic Yvonne. That is - until her hapless husband, a master pianist loses his hands in a train wreck. For the love of Yvonne, Lorre goes beyond the limits of known science to secretly attach the hands of an executed murderer.
Watching Lorre’s gurgling, wiggling transformation into total madness is like watching a caterpillar in a glass cocoon. His legendary Mad Love performance, helped type cast Lorre into the dark characters he played for the rest of his life. In a mad twist of irony, his daughter, Catharine, was almost a victim of The Hillside Stranglers. She was stopped by the serial killers, who were dressed as policemen. When they found out she was Lorre's daughter, they let her go. She didn't realize that they were killers until after they were caught.
Colin Clive, who plays the pianist husband, is best known as the mad Dr. Frankenstein in the 1931 Universal classic. If pure exhilaration was ever captured on film, Clive does it when, upon seeing his monster open its eyes for the first time, he gives the thousand-watt exclamation, “It’s Alive, it’s Alive, It’s Alive”.
In real life Colin Clive died in 1937 at the age of 37 from tuberculosis and alcoholism. Consequently his autograph is one off the most prized possessions of collectors, often fetching well into the thousands for even a small, signed photo, or piece of paper. Like Clive, autograph collectors thirst for the extremely rare signature of Dwight Frye. Frye’s portrayal as the demented Reinfield in 1931’s Dracula, and his early death cemented his scribble in blood-red gold for humanity’s history.