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Lom, Herbert (1917-2012)


Main image of Lom, Herbert (1917-2012)

"In English eyes all foreigners are sinister", said Herbert Lom (born Herbert Charles Angelo Cuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru in Prague), resignedly in 1991, accounting for the large number of reprehensible types which have fallen to the lot of the aristocratic, educated and erudite veteran of 100 films.

Certainly he had more than his share of crooks, usually executing their villainy with a degree of continental suavity, as in Night and the City (UK/US, d. Jules Dassin, 1950) and Northwest Frontier (d. J. Lee Thompson, 1959), parodying this in The Ladykillers (d. Alexander Mackendrick, 1955), and he was a vile seducer in No Trees in the Street (d. J. Lee Thompson, 1958).

However, he also played Napoleon twice (The Young Mr Pitt, 1941; War and Peace, 1956, US/It), was first seriously noticed as Ann Todd's psychiatrist (a role he repeated on stage, 1951) in The Seventh Veil (d. Compton Bennett, 1945), was an all-but saintly lorry driver in Hell Drivers (d. Cy Endfield, 1957), and found new and different fame as the dithering, frustrated Inspector Dreyfus in the Pink Panther films.

On stage he played the King opposite Valerie Hobson in The King and I (1955-56). An escapee from the Germans in the late 1930s, having acted in Czech plays and films, he was seconded from the army in World War II to work in the Czech and German section of the BBC.

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Thumbnail image of Good-Time Girl (1948)Good-Time Girl (1948)

Gainsborough melodrama about a girl's descent into ruin

Thumbnail image of Hell Drivers (1957)Hell Drivers (1957)

Uncompromising B movie set in the macho world of ballast truck drivers

Thumbnail image of Ladykillers, The (1955)Ladykillers, The (1955)

A gang of ruthless criminals meet their match in the elderly Mrs Wilberforce

Thumbnail image of North West Frontier (1959)North West Frontier (1959)

Stirring epic starring Lauren Bacall and set in British-ruled India

Thumbnail image of Passport to Shame (1958)Passport to Shame (1958)

Melodrama about a cabbie befriending a girl caught up in the white slave trade

Thumbnail image of Seventh Veil, The (1945)Seventh Veil, The (1945)

Melodrama starring James Mason as a young pianist's obsessive guardian

Thumbnail image of Human Jungle, The (1963-65)Human Jungle, The (1963-65)

Stylish drama starring Herbert Lom as an unorthodox psychiatrist

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