I am a relative newcomer to silent films, so I can not pontificate on all of the nuances and wonderful subtleties The Lodger surely showcases. I can say that I enjoyed this film very much; the story retained its vigor throughout, and some of my preconceived notions regarding the conclusion were proven quite wrong. The Lodger bears the unmistakable influence of the Jack the Ripper murders. A number of fair-haired young ladies have been murdered on successive Tuesday nights in London, and the police basically have no clue as to the killer's identity. On the heels of the sixth murder, a stranger comes seeking a room at the lodging house of an elderly couple. The woman is put ill at ease immediately, and who could blame her? The mysterious lodger makes his appearance standing at the door with a scarf covering the lower part of his face, looking amazingly just like Bela Lugosi would look several years later when he made his grand entrance in Dracula. He's a little strange, taking down all the pictures of fair-haired girls in his room, but the kindly old woman's suspicions are raised significantly when she witnesses her strange boarder sneaking out for a half hour on the next Tuesday night, returning just after a fresh murder had been committed down the street. The couple worries about their daughter Daisy, who has taken a definite shine to the strange young man (to the chagrin of her traditional suitor, who happens to be a detective assigned to the serial killer hunt). Determined to keep Daisy away from possible danger, her parents nevertheless manage to let her go out with the lodger the next Tuesday night, and this serves as the setup for the culminating scenes wherein Daisy's long-time suitor/detective accuses the stranger of being the wanted serial killer known as The Avenger.Read more ›
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Hitchcock's ``The Lodger'' is a marvelous study in the obsessive behavior that lies latent in all of us, and sometimes boils up to the surface with disastrous results. The killer himself (note the nickname and the triangles) is clearly obsessed by something, though we never learn completely what. The lodger himself, the first victim's brother, is so dead-set on ``avenging'' his sister that he becomes a parody of the killer. The detective loses control of himself when his desire to catch the killer blends in with his anger over losing his girl to the lodger. And the crowd at the end - good people, but turned into ravenous wolves by their lust for the killer's blood as the lodger dangles Christlike between life and death. All in all, it's a profound, disturbing and thought-provoking film.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Much more than a great Hitchcock thriller!Feb. 20 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
This excellent DVD release is well overdue because "The Lodger" is an essential and important film in the Alfred Hitchcock repertoire, being the first film to feature all the famous Hitchcock trademarks. Not only was it revolutionary new genre back in the mid 1920s, but it remains an outstanding silent film to this day, and is a shining example of how effective, dramatic and poignant a well-made silent film can be. Without the medium of sound, silent film directors became very creative in the use of visual effects, and "The Lodger" boasts some excellent examples. These were most probably inspired by German Expressionism, to which Hitchcock was exposed early in his career, and from which he took their effective use of light and shadow, unusual camera angles and visually expressive style to make good use in his own productions. The shadowy look and solemn mood of typical German Expressionist films suit the theme of this Hitchcock thriller perfectly because it is based on the ever-popular story of Jack the Ripper. On foggy Tuesday nights in London, young blonde girls are murdered by someone calling himself `The Avenger', and when a mysterious stranger arrives at a house looking for accommodation, the family begins to suspect their unusual lodger of being the killer. Suspense and drama escalate in true Hitchcock fashion as the viewer wonders if he really could be the killer, and if so, what danger awaits the daughter of the family who is falling in love with the mysterious stranger.
More than just a typical Hitchcock thriller, "The Lodger" boasts all the best features of finest silent cinema, and it was the turning point in Hitchcock's career, being acclaimed as the greatest British film made up to that date in 1926. Very good picture quality throughout is accentuated by perfect musical accompaniment to create the right mood, with even a choice of two different scores. The many bonus features on this DVD add to the viewer's understanding of the film and of Hitchcock himself, with a 20-minute documentary focussing on "The Lodger" as well as interviews with Hitchcock, an audio commentary to the film and other exciting and unusual items. Needless to say, this is an essential addition to any Hitchcock collection, but should not be overlooked by the general cinema enthusiast because silent films represent the foundation of modern cinema, and reveal the roots and early development of motion picture, as well as the various pioneers of the industry, Hitchcock being one of them.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating silent film directed by Alfred HitchcockFeb. 27 2003
- Published on Amazon.com
I am a relative newcomer to silent films, so I can not pontificate on all of the nuances and wonderful subtleties The Lodger surely showcases. I can say that I enjoyed this film very much; the story retained its vigor throughout, and some of my preconceived notions regarding the conclusion were proven quite wrong. The Lodger bears the unmistakable influence of the Jack the Ripper murders. A number of fair-haired young ladies have been murdered on successive Tuesday nights in London, and the police basically have no clue as to the killer's identity. On the heels of the sixth murder, a stranger comes seeking a room at the lodging house of an elderly couple. The woman is put ill at ease immediately, and who could blame her? The mysterious lodger makes his appearance standing at the door with a scarf covering the lower part of his face, looking amazingly just like Bela Lugosi would look several years later when he made his grand entrance in Dracula. He's a little strange, taking down all the pictures of fair-haired girls in his room, but the kindly old woman's suspicions are raised significantly when she witnesses her strange boarder sneaking out for a half hour on the next Tuesday night, returning just after a fresh murder had been committed down the street. The couple worries about their daughter Daisy, who has taken a definite shine to the strange young man (to the chagrin of her traditional suitor, who happens to be a detective assigned to the serial killer hunt). Determined to keep Daisy away from possible danger, her parents nevertheless manage to let her go out with the lodger the next Tuesday night, and this serves as the setup for the culminating scenes wherein Daisy's long-time suitor/detective accuses the stranger of being the wanted serial killer known as The Avenger. It is something of a strange experience to watch a silent movie. I always wonder what the actors are actually saying; they talk up a storm, yet we are shown only scattered fragments of their conversations. The actors all play their roles to great excess, seemingly overemphasizing their expressions to help make up for the lack of actual dialogue. Sometimes their faces are completely bleached out as the quality of the picture varies. Frankly, I had not even thought about Alfred Hitchcock having made silent movies early in his career, but The Lodger, his third silent film (although Hitchcock essentially chose not to count the first two), displays the genius Hitchcock would become famous for. There are several scenes that seemed quite impressive for a film made in 1926: early on, there is an interesting montage of faces blending from one to another; in one scene, the camera pans up and we see the ceiling disappear to show us the pacing strides of the lodger up above; and toward the end we witness a series of images pan across the ground as a character looks down in deep thought. I was quite impressed by The Lodger. The basic story is clearly delineated despite the lack of dialogue, the direction is masterful, and the ending is in no way anticlimactic. I admit I sometimes found myself making up dialogue for the actors and actresses, but by the midway point I was so absorbed in the story that I forgot about it being a silent movie and just sat back and let myself become absorbed in the growing drama. If you are going to watch a silent movie, Hitchcock's The Lodger is more than worthy of your consideration.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Alfred Hitchcocks' "The Lodger" (1926)Nov. 22 2000
- Published on Amazon.com
This third film of Alfred Hitchcock's was his first thriller. This inspired account of a Jack-the-Ripper-style murderer named "The Avenger", who kills blond-haired women on Tuesday nights in London, shows a young and creative directorial talent at work. Hitchcock worked from his own scenario of star Ivor Novello's stage play for this initial foray into what would later be familiar Hitchcock territory. Novello portrays a strange and aloof lodger, who stays in a room above a lower-middle-class family. In the evening streets of London, the Avenger's victims are being found closer and closer to the lodging houses. Eventually the landlords, and their daughter's police detective suitor, come to suspect that the mysterious lodger has unholy designs on their beautiful blond daughter. Can their suspicions be confirmed before it is too late? Throughout the film there are examples of visual inspiration in shots of a restless lodger in the room above pacing back and forth as seen, through the floor (as if eyes could read what ears are unable to hear in silent films), by the landlady below, or in the desperate lodger suspended only by handcuffs on a spiked metal fence. The Lodger is an early treat for fans of Hitchcock's distinctive storytelling technique. We dare say that this film is his most entertaining and flashy narrative until 1929's Blackmail. And, for those wondering, Hitchcock makes the first of his on-screen appearances, with Hitchcock sitting with his back to the camera in an early newspaper office sequence and as a flat-grey-hat wearing crowd member in the climax.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5 stars for the film ... the verdict is still out on quality of discNov. 29 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
One of the best silent films still in existence was first reported to have no extra features. It turns out that it has several including a very excellent commentary track by a film historian quite familiar with Hitchcock's work.
Story synopsis: A serial killer is seeking blonde girls as his victims in London. A strange lodger moves into a rented room. The man goes out on foggy nights, keeps a photo of an unidentified blonde girl in his room, and flirts with the landlady's daughter, Daisy, who just happens to be blonde. Daisy's boyfriend is a police detective, and jealousy arouses his suspicion more than it might normally be stirred. Along with Hitchcock's "Champagne", it is a landmark of the evolution of what was to become Hitchcock's style.
This disc is part of the Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection (Lifeboat / Spellbound / Notorious / The Paradine Case / Sabotage / Young and Innocent / Rebecca / The Lodger) released in the autumn of 2008. Initial pressings of this set revealed a humongous amount of complaints about quality, not just a few isolated ones. Numerous customers tried several sets only to see some problems in all of the sets and finally just give up and demand a refund. This disc was one of the four particularly "troubled discs" in this set, so you should approach with caution, although my disc has arrived and played trouble-free.
One theory about the problems is the tight wrapping on the packaging in the big Hitchcock set is warping discs and causing them to freeze, make horrendous grinding noises, or just not play at all. So far, there appears to be no studio response to this mishap.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
In Silents, No One Can Hear You Scream!May 29 2010
Critic's Corner by Scotman
- Published on Amazon.com
First off, the DVD made by MGM, The Lodger, The Story of the London Fog, is an amazingly great package they put together.
Not only is this great silent picture meticulously restored, but you get two different scores to choose from, a funny story from Hitchcock's granddaughter Mary Stone, a Making Of featurette, two interviews with Hitchcock done in the early Sixties, commentary by film historian Patrick McGillian, and a 1940 radio show also directed by Hitchcock.
OK, so I hear all the hype: the first Hitchcockian thriller, the best film to come out of Britain at that time, first rate, must see, etc. Is it true?
In watching the film, the first thing you note is the German Expressionist film artistry that Hitchcock picked up from his time in Germany during the time of F.W. Mirnau and other great silent directors of the time. Their experimentation with light, tinting and shadow are evident.
Hitchcock created his own brand though, can't accuse him of being a copycat!
Briefly, the film starts out with a screaming woman with light-colored hair as she's being strangled, her hair all aglow. On the side, we see a marquee "To-Night Golden Curls." Prophetic.
The Avenger is a serial killer loose in London. The police are ineffective as this murderer kills any blondes he sees. It gets so worried women purposely wear dark curls under their hats so they won't be mistaken for blondes! "No peroxide for me!" one woman quips.
The Avenger though as bad a mass murderer can be, is secondary to the character of the Lodger, played by British silent film star Ivor Novello, and his budding relationship with Daisy, who is unfortunately blonde, and who unfortunately for her police detective fiancé, is falling for the Lodger.
The Lodger is not really given a name, which I thought was interesting. The suspense builds as the landlady and then the ex-boyfriend police detective, Joe, begin to suspect that the Lodger is in fact the Avenger. More and more clues are led up to a search warrant and the emptying of a mysterious satchel, the same kind of satchel that witnesses had said belonged to the Avenger.
Inside, we view a map with little triangles all over it (where murders were committed) and newspaper clippings of the Avenger's bloody trail. And a portrait! "Your first victim, eh?" snarls Joe!
Uh oh, doesn't look good for our man. Daisy adores him and can't see the Lodger being any kind of murderer. Is Daisy naive or is she about to be plucked?
The artistry of the film is amazing. The swinging ceiling lamp suggests pacing back and forth by the Lodger in his room. We seem to see through the ceiling to see his nervous pacing.
In fact, Hitchcock had a large six foot square thick pane of glass used to shoot through to the pacing young man, then super-imposed the glass image with the ceiling image.
Suspense-building, such as the white hand that is slowly going down the staircase, as the Lodger is making a mysterious exit from the lodge to some unknown destination or errand. The number on the lodge door: 13, naturally!
Seeing the "making of" featurette was very educational. You hear Hitchcock's own words about his German influence, and how the studios did not want their prize boy being accused of murder. He states that he found the same with Cary Grant in "Suspicion." No one wanted Cary to actually be the murderer.
Despite the "star system" crimping his style, Hitchcock conveys all the mystery and suspense in this great silent picture, tints and all, Hitchcock's trademark personal cameos and the now-familiar themes of suspicion and mistaken identity are all here.
PS: I also have the Laser Light DVD version. That one is not restored and is difficult to see. Get the "Premiere Collection" from MGM.