In the nineties, my viewing of MTV was way in decline. They still played music, but I found their offerings less compelling and was not a fan of the burgeoning reality TV movement. Still, MTV of that decade did have its charms and made some memories. One that sticks in my brain is this nearly forgotten Peter Lorre MTV promo.
I remember it well because it made a reference that I “got” at the time. My time at the video store had exposed me to a panoply of classic films. Among them was Fritz Lang’s M. In it Peter Lorre plays a child murderer named Hans Becker who is indentified through the clever use of a chalk M on his jacket.
This made the Peter Lorre MTV promo clever but apt. Since we get a giant M on his jacket and hear him mumbling as he attempts to escape justice. While it is apt and fun, I also thought at the time, “how many other people will understand this reference?” A lot of my friends watched MTV and I don’t think one of them understood the reference. They just thought it was some sort of MTV zaniness.
Which is probably what the MTV people thought when they made it. If we could enjoy the Peter Lorre MTV promo on multiple levels, good for us. Otherwise we would enjoy it for just being sort of kooky.
Watch the Peter Lorre MTV promo
If you have not seen M, I suggest you give it a look. The entire film is posted online for your viewing pleasure. It is an amazing film and Peter Lorre’s breakout role. If you want to see Lorre with the famous M on his back. Just jump to the 1 hour 4 minute and 13 second mark.