The Lodger (1927)
***

Review:
The Lodger is universally considered the best of Hitchcock's silents. Even in this early piece we see some of Hitch's trademark theme's, like the possibility of the innocent man accused and some interesting camera shots. It's a story that's loosely based on the Jack the Ripper killings in London. In this movie the serial killer is known as The Avenger and is killing blondes, which has the fair-haired girls of London worried. During this time a mysterious man shows up looking for a room to rent from a family. This lodger has some quirky habits of going out on foggy nights and has them wondering who exactly this lodger that's living in their house really is. I particularly enjoyed the scene where the Lodger is playing chess with Daisy. This movie definitely showcases Hitchcock's early talent for the thriller genre and he keeps you guessing throughout. I have read that Hitchcock wanted a different ending, but that it was shot down by the movie executives. I won't mention the endings to avoid spoiling the movie, but I would have liked to see it Hitch's way. Unfortunately this was long before the days of shooting alternate versions, so we just have to imagine how he would have done it. It's amazing to me to watch Hitchcock's quality movies from the 1920s-1970s. He truly deserves the title, The Master of Suspense. He dedicated his life to the art of filmmaking and we get to reap the benefits.

Hitchcock Cameos:
This is the first of his films that Hitchcock appeared in, which would become one of his trademarks throughout his career. I think it's safe to say that I wouldn't have spotted his two appearances in this film had I not known where to look beforehard. He first appears early on at a desk in a newsroom with his back to the camera. He also appears in the crowd scene at the end of the movie, leaning on the fence and wearing a hat. Unlike his later films, his appearance wasn't really a cameo, but just for practical reasons to fill the screen with an extra body. Cameos

Format Notes:
The first time I watched this movie was with a friend in the early 1990s. We had rented a VHS and started watching it at my place. We knew it was a silent film, but I guess we were a little surprised when we found out there was no music or anything, but truly silent. We had a hard time watching it with no sound, so I put on Danny Elfman's score from Batman, it fit surprisingly well. Now, a decade later, we are treated to a nice 75th anniversary edition with a new digital score, which makes it much easier to watch. Unfortunately the film itself hasn't been remastered. Seems like this is an important enough film to warrant a thorough restoration. The DVD version is listed at 89mins on the back of the case, but the counter on my DVD player stopped at 92mins. IMDB lists running times of 75/83/101mins.

Still Photographs:
Movie (13)

Rank:
#1 in 1927, #5 in 1920s, # Hitchcock Film


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