Herbert Lom reported dead
Is there such a thing as a rugged aristocrat?
That’s how Herbert Lom often struck me in the movies. Yes, it seemed like he was “born better” than you, educated, civilized…but there apparently lurked a barely sublimated beastliness, a primitive rage that was kept in check by a sneering veneer.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Lom was a powerful and reliable presence in geeky roles. I think first, perhaps, of his role in Ray Harryhausen’s Mysterious Island, but certainly, the Hammer Terence Fisher version of Phantom of the Opera is not far behind.
I would guess that Lom is most associated with the role of Chief Inspector Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies, which showed a comedic skill not always apparent in his other parts.
Geek credits include:
- Project M7 (a secret airplane that can break the sound barrier)
- I Aim at the Stars (biography of Werner von Braun…Lom plays Anton Reger)
- The Phantom of the Opera (playing the phantom)
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
- Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (written by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson…but it’s not marionettes: also stars Roy Thinnes)
- Mark of the Devil (Lom is a witch hunter…and Udo Keir is learning the trade)
- Count Dracula (Lom is Van Helsing, Christopher Lee is a mustachioed Dracula…this is not from Hammer, but Jess Franco)
- Dorian Gray
- Asylum (Lom joins Peter Cushing, Barry Morse, and Britt Ekland in this Robert Bloch anthology from Amicus)
- Dark Places (also starring Christopher Lee and Joan Collins)
- …And Now the Screaming Starts! (Peter Cushing)
- The Dead Zone (David Cronenberg directs, Christopher Walken stars, based on Stephen King)
- King Solomon’s Mines (Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone)
- Going Bananas (a talking chimpanzee comedy with Dom DeLuise and Jimmie Walker)
- Whoops Apocalypse
That’s only a slice of Herbert Lom’s more than six decade career. He often played Europeans in angsty dramas, and played Napoleon more than once.
Good-bye, Herbert Lom…the world is less striking without you.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.