The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)

lodger poster 1927 movie alferd hitchcock
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Interesting to see how Hitchcock evolved

Silent pictures are sometimes tough to watch, some really bad prints of the movie

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Lodger:  A Story of the London Fog

Studio:  Woolf & Freedman Film Service

Genre(s):  Mystery/Suspense/Silent

Release Date(s):  February 14, 1927 (UK)/June 10, 1928 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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No…not a creeper here…rent to me, please!

The Avenger is killing fair-haired women around London.  When a strange man (Ivor Novello) moves into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting (Arthur Chesney and Marie Ault) he begins to raise suspicion due to his strange behavior and leaving at all hours of the night.  When he begins to spend more time with the young, blond Daisy Bunting (June Tripp), Joe (Malcolm Keen), a police man working on the Avenger case, grows jealous and suspicious that the lodger knows something about the murders and that Daisy could be his next victim.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, The Lodger:  A Story of the London Fog was a silent film that Hitchcock has called his first real film (he previously had done the incomplete Number 13 and Always Tell Your Wife in 1922 and 1923 and the completed films The Pleasure Garden in 1925 and the lost film The Mountain Eagle in 1926).  The film was based on the 1913 book of the same name by Marie Belloc Lowndes and the stage play Who Is He? by Belloc Lowndes.  The movie was a success and helped propel Hitchcock to fame.  The Criterion Collection remastered the movie (Criterion #885).

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It’s Hitch (for the first time)

Silent movies are often hard for me.  It becomes obvious how distracted I’ve become (and probably society).  I constantly find myself drifting away from the screen, but then realizing you can’t just listen to a silent movie.  Regardless, The Lodger was interesting and kept my attention.

The story of The Lodger is obviously a thinly veiled version of Jack the Ripper (he’s just never mentioned and the numbers are larger than Jack the Ripper’s spree).  The whole basis was allegedly on a comment made to the painter Walter Sickert by his landlady who told him that she used to rent to Jack the Ripper (Walter Sickert has sometimes been pointed to as a Ripper suspect also).  In the original story had a bit more of an open ending with no real confirmation that the lodger wasn’t Jack the Ripper, but here, you are given a happy ending where the lodger’s cleared of the charges.

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I’m just disappointed my audition for The Shadow failed…

Visually, the movie looks a lot like German Expressionism films of the time.  Dark shadows and strange uses of lights highlight the film (I liked the through the floor view of the lodger pacing). Hitchcock shows some of his style and these earlier films are fun to watch to see how he develops.  Hitchcock also makes his first cameo in this film as a telephone operator relaying a message (he is also supposed to be in the mob scene at the end).  It was simply due to the lack of an actor, but it became a fun trend in Hitchcock’s films to see where he’d pop up.

It is interesting to watch early Hitchcock to see his style evolving. The Lodger is no different.  Stylistically, you can see a lot of Hitchcock’s other films, and it is worth wild to check out one of his silent films just to see how he handles expressing through image what normally is done with dialogue.  The film was remade a number of times including in 1932 with Ivor Novello reprising the role of the lodger (often called The Phantom Fiend) and the most famous version in 1944 with Merle Oberon, George Sanders, and Laird Cregar.  Hitchcock followed The Lodger:  A Story of the London Fog with The Ring in 1927.

Related Links:

The Lodger (1944)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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