Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

United Kingdom 1927
Directed by
Alfred Hitchcock
75 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Lodger

Hitchcock’s third film, also known as The Lodger, A Story Of The London Fog is his first that could be called distinctively Hitchcockian. It was based on Mrs. Belloc Lowndes' novel of the same name that was a take on the Jack The Ripper legend, with matinee idol, Ivor Novello playing the man suspected of being a serial killer. Although dark stuff for its day, it was a huge critical and box office success and established the director’s reputation as an “auteur”, admittedly avant la lettre.

In hindsight The Lodger has many of the distinguishing features of Hitchcock’s style – “the wrong man” premise (often seen as a reflection of his Roman Catholic upbringing), the voyeuristic interest in matters of sexual deviance (ditto), the visual flourishes, notably the famous ceiling shot looking up through plate glass to Novello’s pacing feet, and, on a minor note, a passing appearance by the director. Whilst the film benefits from its setting amongst London’s East End petit bourgeois, a milieu that Hitchcock knew well (he would revisit the story 46 years later in Frenzy), it also reflects his recent sojourn in Germany where he had just directed sections of his previous film, The Pleasure Garden at the UFA studios and where he was exposed to the reigning “Expressionist” style with its distinctive visual vocabulary. Although some of Hitchcock's early films are of largely marginal interest, The Lodger still holds up, quite an achievement for a silent film

FYI:  A sound version was made in 1932 (again with Novello), and it was remade by John Brahm in 1944 and again in 1954 as Man In The Attic with Jack Palance in the lead.

DVD Extras: Original mono score; 1999 score by Ashley Irwin; Hitchcock's 1940 radio play of The Lodger; Hitchcock's 1927 silent film Downhill/When Boys Leave Home; Insert booklet with 2 essays - The Lodger, A Story Of The London Fog: Hitchcock making cinema by Dr Brian McFarlane, Monash University, and Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger:  A Theory (or two) by Hitchcock specialist, Ken Mogg.

Available from: Madman




Want something different?

random vintage best worst