Friday, January 27, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Lurking With Lorre

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, we dig into a few movies featuring Peter Lorre - with wine pairings for each.

Peter Lorre was an amazing actor, we don't need to beat that horse to death. However, beyond his emotive skills was that voice - that incredible voice. His take as Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon is a superb example of the unconvincing convincer. When he tells Sam Spade to "kindly clasp your hands behind your neck" it’s no surprise that the table is turned faster than a Lazy Susan. There was a comic - I can't remember who - who did a quick impression of Lorre as a sportscaster, running down how one team killed, murdered… annihilated the other. In that voice. That incredible voice.

The Face Behind the Mask came to us in 1941 - prime time for film noir. Lorre stars as Johnny Szabo, a Hungarian immigrant who quickly learns the ropes in the US of A. Disfigured in a fire, he finds the only means of earning a living that's available to him is safecracking. If safecracking is in your toolbox to start with, it's possible that you aren't that nice a person anyway. However, if Lorre is in the role, you can expect that something is amiss somewhere. And something is.

There is a New England IPA called The Safecracker - who knows why. Oregon's Pheasant Run Winery used to have a Safecracker Syrah, but it seems that has been bumped in favor of their Bank Robber Red. That'll do in a pinch. We know whodunnit, we just won't say how.

From 1935, Mad Love started out as The Hands of Orlac, but what was no doubt a team of marketers somehow got Mad Love out of those words. You know how sometimes on your way home from work, they're doing a perp walk with a knife-throwing murderer down the street? Yeah? Well, that's what happens to Lorre in this film. He ends up in possession of the late murderer's hands and uses them in a transplant. "Just happen to have a couple in the laboratory." "But doctor, will I ever be able to throw a knife again?" "Yes, but your piano playing days are down the toilet, I'm afraid."

There are plenty of T-shirts for sale with funny bits like, "Just another wine drinker with a knife-throwing problem." The level of hilarity probably depends on whether you are the thrower or the throwee. In Texas, there is even a sub-culture of axe throwers, of which the less we know, the better. 

In the movie's frenzied climax, Lorre mistakes a real woman for a wax dummy, which makes one wonder how he managed to pull off a hand transplant. It's a good thing she didn't employ him to do a breast augmentation.

VineOh! - the name just rings of oeno-sincerity, doesn't it? - has a Mad Love Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a Mad Love sweet white blend. One of those has to be good for viewing this film.

The Beast With 5 Fingers gave 1946 a dose of Hollywood horror. It's the old "severed hand" trope brought back to life in grand fashion by Warner Brothers. The poster beckons, "Your flesh will creep at the hand that crawls!" However much they paid ad men back then, the one who wrote that log line earned his day's pay. Depending on your gullibility, it can be either the subject of those campfire tales about what happened in "the next town over" or an early glimpse of Cousin Itt. 

A dead piano player's hand comes back from the grave and tickles the ivories a little more, in between strangulations, of course. Lorre's character tries to end the five-fingered fiend by flinging it into the fire. Spoiler: He lives just long enough to regret it

In Washington's Columbia Valley there is a red blend known as Sinister Hand. I'm not one to point fingers, but soft, juicy, and vanilla doesn't sound all that sinister to me, but maybe I would feel differently with a hand crawling up my leg. 

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