The Lodger


Action / Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller


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December 19, 2013 at 01:00 AM


Alfred Hitchcock as Extra in Newspaper Office
Reginald Gardiner as Dancer at Ball
703.30 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 14 min
P/S 0 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Steffi_P 7 / 10

"Murder – wet from the press"

The Lodger was the feature which Hitchcock himself described as his first true film (it was actually his third complete one), and film historians, particularly auteurists tend to focus upon it because it is it introduces themes of murder and suspense that Hitch's name would later be synonymous with.

To be honest, the first thing that strikes me upon watching The Lodger is its sense of rhythm. Hitchcock's earliest films were always very rhythmic and the opening moments of The Lodger are a great example, with a dynamic and attention grabbing sequence of shots and title cards. Much of this however may be down to the style of the seldom referenced screenwriter Eliot Stannard, who has a credit on all but one of Hitchcock's silents. Stannard was a master at telling stories in purely visual terms, and his screenplays often go as far as to map out series of interlocking images.

The next very obvious thing about The Lodger is that right from the start Hitchcock was more interested in cinematic technique than he was in performances or artistry. The Lodger is crammed with Expressionist effects, in particular double exposures. Hitch clearly hadn't learnt the art of subtlety yet and these are massively overused. We can also tell early on that Hitchcock was interested in using his camera to involve the audience in the film, throwing in point-of-view shots or drawing our attention to specific items. In this regard his technique was not yet refined. He was develop it in his later silents.

Of course what generally interests followers of Hitchcock's career is the fact that The Lodger is the first time he deals with the grisly subject of murder. It's true that there are many Hitchcockian elements here – murder, blondes, a love triangle and even a MacGuffin in the form of the Avenger whom all the characters are concerned about but isn't the focus of the story. There is a kind of morbid sensationalism concerning the killings, something we'd see right through to the other end of Hitch's career with the comment about "ripped whores" in 1972's Frenzy. There's also of course a "wrong man", although here he appears more as the subject of a whodunit. The later Hitchcock would have focused upon the plight of the wrongly accused, and made a more suspenseful film in the process.

All in all, The Lodger isn't really as significant an early Hitchcock as some would believe. For one thing there is the influence of screenwriter Stannard and the fact that Hitchcock, although he may have relished the material, was still very young and inexperienced. The fact is The Lodger may contain more of Stannard's influence than it does Hitchcock's. It's not as if Hitchcock immediately began making more murder thrillers. The majority of his British thrillers are of the espionage/adventure variety, and it would take up until the early 40s for Hitchcock to really begin making masterpieces in the domestic murder genre. It's also nowhere near being Hitch's best silent film, even though it tends to be remembered over more polished works like The Ring and The Manxman. Taken out of context though, it is a fairly decent late silent thriller, with only a few minor flaws in plot and direction.

Reviewed by Righty-Sock ([email protected]) 7 / 10

It was the start of what came to be known as "the Hitchcock touch..."

The film begins with the head of a girl in close-up... She is very blonde, and her curling hair fills the screen... She is screaming... Cut to a theater sign, announcing a show called "Tonight, Golden Curls." The lights of the sign are reflected in water... From that water the golden-haired girl is drawn out to land... She is no longer screaming... She is dead... Assassinated!

That scene was more than the start of a film... It was also the real start of suspense films in England...

"The Lodger," based on a novel by Mrs. Belloc Lowndes, was set in a Jack the Ripper-style murder wave in a foggy London... The victims were always blonde girls, always killed on the same day of the week...

While the whole capital speculates in contagious fear, a new lodger turned up at a peaceful boarding house... He wears a black cloak and carries a black bag...

There are other details which make us mistrust the mysterious tenant without, obviously, conclusive proof… So is he or isn't he the serial killer? Well, you have to see the film, and to follow a plot that was to dominate and control several of Hitchcock's later films: the concept of suspicion, the essential point for suspense…

Reviewed by raymond-15 7 / 10

A compelling whodunit

A stranger (Ivor Novello) in fog-bound London seeks accommodation from a family and they provide him with a small apartment upstairs. Their blond daughter is drawn towards this fascinating and somewhat mysterious gentleman. Her parents become suspicious of the intentions of the lodger and they live in fear of her safety. There is a serial killer abroad in the foggy streets and who knows? this stranger could be that maniac.

It is interesting to view an early Hitchcock film as far back as the silent era. I am surprised at the quality (despite a few scratches here and there). The addition of music is rather overdone in my opinion but it does fill in the empty silence and does add a dramatic effect. No doubt in the early days a capable pianist (below the screen) bashed out some impromptu music to fit the mood of each scene.

It is an uncomplicated story but that does not mean the guilty person is easily recognized (if at all!) Hitchcock likes to tease with a lodger who has shifty eyes, who paces the floor (what an original idea to photograph through a transparent floor), who has the wall pictures removed and who creeps out silently at night.

I feel that the atmosphere created is exceptional. Certainly a bit theatrical with exaggerated eye expressions but compelling nevertheless.

When you see a film of this vintage you realise how much film production had already advanced in the 20's and without the aid of all our recent technological contrivances.

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