Peter Lorre was an actor. A very good one. A product of Berlin's post World War I experimental theatre scene, Peter Lorre honed his craft in plays by Shakespeare, Goethe and Shaw, but achieved international fame as a child killer in Fritz Lang's incendiary "M" (1931). After making his English language debut for Alfred Hitchcock in "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1934), Lorre was lured to Hollywood with the promise of a studio contract. Warehoused for a year by Columbia Pictures, Lorre was loaned out to play more maniacs in "Mad Love" (1935) and "Stranger on the Third Floor" (1940). Against the better judgment of the Warner Brothers front office, first time filmmaker John Huston took a chance on Lorre by casting him as the villainous Joel Cairo to Humphrey Bogart's steely shamus Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon" (1941). Lorre and Bogart became frequent co-stars in such World War II era fare as "Across the Pacific" (1941), "Casablanca" (1942) and "Passage to Marseilles" (1944).