Patsy Brand is a chorus girl at the Pleasure Garden music hall. She meets Jill Cheyne who is down on her luck and gets her a job as a dancer. Jill is engaged to adventurer Hugh Fielding and... See full summary »
A serial killer known as "The Avenger" is on the loose in London, murdering blonde women. A mysterious man arrives at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting looking for a room to rent. The Bunting's daughter is a blonde model and is seeing one of the detectives assigned to the case. The detective becomes jealous of the lodger and begins to suspect he may be the avenger. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
Arthur Chesney's elder brother Edmund Gwenn would later succeed him in the role of Mr. Bunting in the CBS radio adaptation of "The Lodger" on July 22, 1940, which was likewise directed by Alfred Hitchcock. That episode served as the pilot episode of the long-running radio series "Suspense" which began two years later. See more »
London's Tower Bridge is shown 10 years before it was built. See more »
Tall he was - and his face all wrapped up.
See more »
For a 1926 production it's inventive, smart, and a great opening to Hitchcock
The Lodger (1927)
This is the first of three movies in a 30 year period based on the same plot, and in terms of plot this is the best of them. (There is also a recent one that is the worst of the bunch.) It is, for sure, an early Alfred Hitchcock film. It's early in the sense that it's still creaky at times. It's Hitchcock because it's tightly made, visually dramatic, and it combines sympathy and suspense really well.
If you are into what makes Hitchcock tick, you really have to see this movie. Not that you should mind--it's great stuff. First of all you get the presumably innocent man accused of a string of murders (this is ambiguous). Then you have the mixing of sex and murder (or lust and murder--there is no sex here). And then you have the way Hitchcock mixes every day regular people and very safe and homey situations with genuine terrible murderous events. And finally there is his filming and editing.
Take a look even at the very first shot--a close up a screaming woman shot at an angle (a "Dutch angle"). Look next at how dark and impressionistic the next shots are of a horrified crowd, a cop, and a reporter. Later there are other interesting cuts to lead you to thinking a certain way about the characters. And the overlapping of images. And the shot of a man walking overhead on glass, as if you can see through the ceiling.
The humor and clever conversation of later versions of this story are naturally lost on us here. Also in good Hitch fashion there are few intertitle cards. Good thing. The visuals tell the story. And wait until the final scenes, the Pieta all over again, really gorgeous. Some of these last shots were redone at the request of the studio to change the impressions of the main character, a handsome man with an acting reputation to protect. Hitchcock went along, and it seems to be acceptable all around by the time it was released.
It's hard to find a decent "print" of this (a version from a good copy of the film, on DVD or streaming), but it has recently been restored and re-scored (orchestrated) and that's for sure the one to get. It is so far only a U.K. release, apparently even a blu-ray version is out (look for the red and black Constructivist cover). Criterion has not released a version. The original release has different scenes tinted blue or amber for greater effect and the usual version on Hitchcock DVDs and DVD sets in the U.S. is all black and white.
So, if you don't like silent films and can't stand choppy or grainy or badly cropped releases of early films, don't see this. But if you can find the clean new restoration, or you just love Hitchcock, or if you really like silent films (they get more and more amazing the more you see), then see this! It's the director's first really characteristic feature.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?