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Film | Movie Actor

Gearld Mohr Signed AutographGerald Mohr was cool.

But just what does that mean? Most discussions of cool begin with what it is not.

Mohr's cool wasn't the distantly superior cool of James Bond. In real life Mohr was every bit the suave continental, with an aristocratic background, an enthusiast of the finer things and a collector or rare books. While Bond's superior status was one we could emulate but never achieve, Mohr was down to earth, possessing an Everyman quality.

Early in his career he was marketed as being similar in looks and style to Humphrey Bogart. The biographical comparisons truly are there to be made. Both men are native New Yorkers, albeit with a fifteen year separation. Bogart's father was surgeon specializing in the heart and lungs; Mohr was raised by his grandfather, a psychologist (and associate of Sigmund Freud.) Both men attended prestigious preparatory schools. Both worked small roles in theater until getting recognition for their work in Robert Sherwood's crime drama, The Petrified Forest. And in both cases, the Petrified Forest performances would result in gangster typecasting during their early career.

Mohr's cool was not the forced, drink in hand, self-destructive cool of The Rat Pack, but he would have fit with that scene. The biggest difference between Mohr and the Rat Pack was that they were A-Listers, and Mohr was almost exclusively a B-movie man.

1941

Monster and the GirlB movie is generally defined as a low budget film, often used as the bottom half of a double feature billing. Many are genre films- Westerns, science-fiction, and horror films. Many film noir crime dramas were considered B movies due to their sensationalist advertising coupled with their low budget production, but many productions became jewels through this adversity. Admittedly, some do not become jewels. Consider the example of one of Mohr's earliest works, The Monster and the Girl . A young man trying to save his sister from prostitution is framed for murder by the mob. At his execution he swears he'll have his revenge, and he gets it, after a mad scientist transplants his brain into a gorilla! [YouTube Clip]

1941

Jungle Girl

 

 

His first successful role was as Slick Latimer, one of the recurring bad guys in the 1941 serial, Jungle Girl.

 

1943

Roy Rogers King of the Cowboys

In the 1943 release of King of the Cowboys, Mohr is a villan and phony mind reader who tries to frame Roy Rogers for murder.
Lady of Burlesque Mohr's good friend Orson Welles helped him get the role of "Louie Grindero" in the Barbara Stanwyck film Lady of Burlesque.[IMDB]
1946-1947

Lone Wolf in London

Returning from service in the Army Air Forces during WWII, Mohr landed the starring role in the Lone Wolf series.

The character of Michal Lanyard, a jewel thief turned private detective, had appeared in 19 previous films. In The Notorious Lone Wolf (1946) Mohr is criticized for playing the part for laughs, and delivering his lines in a flippant manner. Much of this criticism stems from Mohr's replacing William Warren, who had played the role in nine movies.

The Lone Wolf in Mexico (1947) has a wonderfully puzzling mystery, involving real diamonds, fake jewels, a crooked casino, safe cracking, and a pair of murders. However the movie lacks authenticity, being shot in a Mexico City that was completely enclosed within the studio walls with no exterior shots.

Lone Wolf in LondonMohr's best performance of the series is the last, The Lone Wolf in London (1947). By now Mohr is much more comfortable in the role, and plays it straight as he is accused of stealing the Eyes of the Nile Diamonds from a vault at Scotland Yard. Beginning in 1948, Mohr would bring the Lone Wolf character to the airwaves on the Mutual Network.

1946

Gilda

 

One of his few A List appearances was a small but powerful appearance in the Rita Hayworth vehicle Gilda (1946). Again aided in getting the part by his friend Orson Welles (Hayworth's husband at the time,) Mohr was only on screen for a few minutes as Captain Delgado, but he added sizzle to an already sexually charged picture.

1946-1950

Magnificent Rogue The Magnificent Rogue (1946) gives Mohr third billing and allows him to play a Lady's Man as the owner of the big advertising account that the lead characters of this romantic comedy are after. He plays the romantic lead in The Blond Bandit (1950), a story of a good girl who does some bad things who becomes involved with a bad guy who can actually do good things. He has a supporting role as a psycho gangster in Undercover Girl (1950).

1951

Sirocco

 

The new year, 1951, will give Mohr the opportunity to work in some A List projects. He makes an appearance with Bogart in Sirocco, not one of Bogie's better pieces.

 

That year he also plays a supporting role in the Kirk Douglas vehicle Detective Story .

Ten Tall Men

 

 

Mohr plays the evil Khalif Hussein in Burt Lancaster's Foreign Legion film, Ten Tall Men.

[YouTube link to Ten Tall Men]

1952

 

 

 

Mohr is back to B movies in the noir crime drama The Sniper (1952) as a supporting police sergeant on the streets of San Francisco.

He is the leader of the outlaw's gang in Audie Murphy's  The Duel at Silver Creek (1952). Son Ali Baba

 

 

As Capt. Youseff, he leads the cadets in the military academy attended by Tony Curtis in Son of Ali Baba (1952).

1952

The Ring

 

In The Ring (1952) Mohr plays Pete Ganusa, mentor and manager to an up and coming young Mexican-American boxer from the streets of East Los Angeles. The film is notable for its portrayal of life in East LA during the 1950's, as well as giving Mohr a chance to display his cool persona.

1952

Invasion USA

The next vehicle of cool for Mohr would be the Cold War cult classic Invasion USA (1952).

CONELRAD.com would have high praise for Mohr in the role of reporter Vince Potter: "The fact that Mohr manages to emerge from the destruction of New York City with his suit and tie intact best illustrates why Mohr is the King of Atomic Cool. What other actor could have pulled this feat off?"

1953-1954

Raiders of the Seven SeasMohr's stylish 1950's haircut doesn't mix with his 17th century costume in the pirate film Raiders of the Seven Seas (1953), but his performance as a dishonest Spanish noble is effective.

Mohr plays a hoodlum who takes advantage of the young hero in The Eddie Cantor Story (1953).

In the Martin-Lewis romp, Money from Home (1954) Mohr is a jockey involved with the mob and trying to win the girl from Dean Martin.

1957-1959

Mohr is a black-hat-wearing bad guy in The Buckskin Lady (1957), but a bad guy in love with the Buckskin Lady. In the sexy thriller Girls, Guns, and Gangsters (1959) Mohr is an ex-con who plots an armored truck heist with the lovely Mamie Van Doren.

1959-1961

B movie gimmickry reaches a high point with the "Psychorama process." Gerald Mohr starred in A Date With Death(1959) and My World Dies Screaming(1961), aka Terror in the Haunted House, both "filmed in Psychorama" Psychorama is placing subliminal messages in the film to heighten the audiences feelings of terror during the film. Whether the technique had any effect is debatable, but marketers of the films took advantage of the fact that the technique had been banned on television in 1958. Without the hype of the gimmick, the films are actually not bad. A Date with Death is a film noir featuring Mohr as a hobo taking the identity of a murdered detective who is assigned with ridding a small town of gangsters. Terror in the Haunted House is the tale of a young woman who is haunted a repressed memory. She is forced to face the memory by her handsome new husband, played by Mohr, but we don't know until the end if he is nobly trying to help his wife or to demonically drive her into madness.

1959

The 1959 cult classic The Angry Red Planet is hailed by many as being in the "so bad its good category." Mohr's acting as Col. Thomas O'Bannion is one of the few quality elements in the film. Fans of later Sci Fi with expensive special effects will be left scratching their heads as they try to reconcile things like the male astronauts traveling to Mars while wearing wingtip shoes or why does the pretty female scientist need a stylish black handbag on an unexplored planet?

1964

Wild West Story (1964) is a Western shot in Sweden, featuring Mohr as a classic black clad, double gun-belted villain. A convention used for the Swedish market is that the Good Guys speak Swedish, while the Bad Guys deliver their lines in English. The film and its star villain are very well reviewed by Linda C Wood at her fan site, www.GeraldMohr.biz.

1968

Mohr's last film appearance is as con man Tom Branca in the Barbara Streisand classic Funny Girl (1968)

 

Chiefly a character actor in B Films, Gerald Mohr's movie career success can measured by the diversity and multitude of his roles.