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DVD Review: The Mask Of Dimitrios (1944)

In Mask of Dimitros, Cornelius Leyden (Peter Lorre), a Dutch mystery writer becomes intrigued when the body of a notorious criminal named Dimitros (Zachary Scott in his first role) washes up on shore. Leyden begins to trace the sordid career of Dimitros. Along the way, he encounters the mysterious man named Mr. Peters (Sidney Greenstreet) who also has an interest in Dimitros.

Leyden is a very different from the typical Lorre role. While Leyden’s a mystery writer, prior to seeing Dimitrios, he’s never seen a dead body. He goes through the story with a certain innocence and naivete that makes the character likable.

Greenstreet is far closer to type with Peters, an experienced criminal with genteel manners. It’d be tempting to view Peters as just another version of the Kasper Gutman character from the Maltese Falcon, but there’s a bit more to Peter than that, which becomes clear as the movie plays out. The film’s best scenes are the ones between Lorre and Greenstreet. The chemistry between the two is superb and every moment with them sharing the screen is a joy.

Most of the scenes with Zachary Scott were flashbacks to his very active criminal career as a sinister ruthless criminal. Sometimes, it felt these scenes went on too long particularly as the mystery surrounding Mr. Peters became far more interesting than recalling that Dimitros was a scoundrel. Still Scott was a great heavy.

The film was made in 1944 and arguably this would have looked better had it been filed without the restrictions inherent with wartime filmmaking but in the pre or post war eras, but still the movie doesn’t look bad and has some great atmospheric scenes.

This isn’t a must-watch film or a classic but it’s certainly a well-made film featuring two of Hollywood’s most memorable actors in roles that are a little out of the ordinary.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

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Video Theater 006: My Favorite Brunette

Baby Photographer Ronnie Jackson (Bob Hope) dreams of being a private detective. He gets his chance when Detective Sam McCloud (Alan Ladd) steps out and a mysterious woman (Dorothy Lamour) comes into McCloud's office looking for help against a gang of desperate criminals.

Also in the cast is Peter Lorre, and Lon Chaney, Jr.  Features a cameo by Bing Crosby.

Release Date: March 19, 1947


EP0100s: Screen Guild Theater: The Maltese Falcon


In this 1943 adaptation of the original hardboiled detective story: Miles Archer, the partner of Sam Spade (played by Humphrey Bogart) is killed while shadowing someone for a client ( Mary Astor.) When the man Archer was shadowing is killed, the police suspect Spade. Spade must find Archer's killer and to do it he has to match wits against dangerous international criminals (Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet.)

Original Air Date: September 20, 1943

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