Fritz Lang & Peter the Monkey at home, c. 1960’s.
“Lang had a weakness for stuffed monkeys. His first one was probably a present from Gerda Maurus in Berlin. Even in production stills, a monkey can often be seen perched on a camera . [Film critic] Lotte Eisner once found herself in the awkward position of having to explain to Kurt Pinthus who Peter was: ‘It is, however, very difficult to convey Peter’s value to a serious scientist. So I alluded to the romantic element, that he had been given to you by a beautiful woman. Which he understood better’ (Dec. 3, 1968).
Lang had a rather touchingly tender, sentimentally boyish relationship to Peter the Monkey: he took him with him on trips, put him to bed, dressed him up and posed in pictures with him. In the countless letters he exchanged with his lifelong friend Eleanor Rose, there are many passages devoted to Peter: for example, greetings from him for Magali, Eleanor Rose’s favorite cat; or letters directly addressed to Peter or ‘written’ by Peter to Eleanor:
‘Peter sends his warmest regards. He is meditating a great deal and enjoying the California sun. He loves martinis, smokes a long pipe now and again, and has taken to chewing gum. He sends his compliments to Magali and wishes her the best.’” (Fritz Lang to Eleanor Rose, July 30, 1963)
-excerpted from Fritz Lang: His Life and Work, Pictures and Documents