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Screen Icon: Herbert Lom

Born in Austria-Hungary in 1917 , Herbert Lom, was a prominent figure in cinema during the 1950s to the early 1990s. Lom worked consistently throughout the 1940s, but found his big break in the 1955 classic, The Ladykillers. Bigger roles followed featuring parts in films as diverse as El Cid and Spartacus to the Phantom of the Opera. However, the role he has most widely been remembered for is that of Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus in The Pink Panther Series alongside Peter Sellers. Supporting roles continued throughout his career until Lom retired age 87 in 2004. Here are some of Lom's finest performances:

The Dead Zone (1983)
Lom stars alongside Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen in this underrated Stephen King adaptation. He plays a Doctor who attempts to help Walken's character understand his newly found psychic ability. It's a joy to see Lom work with a visionary like David Crononberg and the result is a wonderful piece of unsettling and atmospheric 80s cinema.


Asylum (1972)
Lom was a frequent star of Amicus film's 1970s horror. This was one of Amicus' famous portmanteau films - featuring several short stories within the film.  Lom's once again plays a doctor, this time attempting 'soul transference' into a small robotic doll. Being an Amicus film there are plenty of twists and a nasty end, alongside some dodgy seventies camp. 


Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)
This controversial 1971 Edgar Allan Poe adaptation follows a series of grizzly murders in a theatrical troupe in the 19th Century. Lom plays a disfigured former cast-member who returns to seek vengeance. Again, it's wonderful 1970s horror and Lom is magic.


Count Dracula (1970)
The reason Count Dracula stands out is because it's not a Hammer film, yet stars Sir Christopher Lee in the title role. Here Jesus Franco directs this incredibly loyal adaptation of Stoker's novel. Franco's adaptation feels like a breath of fresh air when compared to the multitude of Hammer Dracula's that preceded (and succeeded it). It is well worth a watch to see Lom in the Van Helsing role and Klaus Kinski as Renfield, as well as Lee on fine form as The Count. 


The Pink Panther Series (From 1963-1993)
Lom stars as Inspector Clouseau's long suffering boss and nemesis, Inspector Dreyfus, who is literally driven insane by Seller's character. Dreyfus was always a fan favourite, featuring in all but two of the classic Panther films. Even when the quality of the films declined (due to Seller's absence) in The Curse of the Pink Panther and The Son of The Pink Panther - Lom remains one of the only redeemable elements. If you've not seen them, you really need to check the series out. 



The Phantom of the Opera (1962)
Here Lom takes the title role in this Hammer take on The Phantom story. It's the best adaptation of the story without a doubt. Lom provides us with a far more emotional and sympathetic take on the character - he's truly phenomenal. The film also features a wonderfully slimy turn from the late Michael Gough. 


The Ladykillers (1955)
This sees five criminals planning a bank robbery, who lodge at an elderly woman's house. She becomes more trouble than first expected. Although Lom's not given too much to do, it's still great to see him work with such a marvelous ensemble - he also has the occasional great line. 


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