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The Lodger
The Lodger
Actors: June, Ivor Novello, Marie Ault, Arthur Chesney, Malcolm Keen
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2009     1hr 40min

Studio: Tcfhe/mgm Release Date: 02/10/2009 Run time: 99 minutes Rating: Nr

     
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Movie Details

Actors: June, Ivor Novello, Marie Ault, Arthur Chesney, Malcolm Keen
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Creators: Alfred Hitchcock, Gaetano di Ventimiglia, Hal Young, Ivor Montagu, Carlyle Blackwell, Michael Balcon, Eliot Stannard, Marie Belloc Lowndes
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 02/10/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/1927
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1927
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Much more than a great Hitchcock thriller!
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 02/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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.
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A fascinating silent film directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 02/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Alfred Hitchcocks' "The Lodger" (1926)
Simon Pope | UK | 11/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Hey Lodger! Come down and visit me sometime. And bring that
J. Faulk | New York NY USA | 02/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"You've probably seen The Lodger as a tired old black and white print. So glory be: Here's the refurbished print with sepia, blue, and rose tints restored and a music score (by Ashley Irwin, 1999) that powerfully supports the drama. At last you can really enjoy this landmark film, which is just one good idea after another.

The Supplements are worthwhile, but mostly boil down to Hitchcock's biography, even "The Making of..." featurette. There's only about a half-dozen anecdotes about making the film that have accumulated over the years. A half-hour radio dramatization of The Lodger is included, with Herbert Marshall as narrator and lodger, characterized as a religious fanatic; before it can be concluded, "Hitchcock" interrupts Mr. Marshall so there is no resolution.

Let's probe our four principals a bit. The mother Marie Ault had just done two popular "Rat" pictures with Ivor Novello, so this casting was a lure to bring British audiences to The Lodger. She and father Arthur Chesney enjoyed long movie and tv careers. In spite of his smooth pate, Chesney should remind you of his brother, Edmund Gwynne. Detective Malcolm Keene also appeared many times on movie and tv screens. The daughter June made only a few films, probably by her choice. Online I do find one photo of her as a dancer, likely a solo dancer as suggested by her solo name.

Ivor Novello was already a matinee idol when he made The Lodger. That's why the original novel (The Lodger) and the stage play (Who Is He?) were modified to make the protagonist sympathetic. Ivor's films span 1919-1934. In the 1930s and 40s he wrote and starred in elaborate musicals in the West End, generally of Ruritanian flavor. To be noted, his beautiful singing voice deserted him at puberty, so in the musicals he was Prince Charming while the ladies vocalized. In his movie period Ivor had a brief stint at MGM, but the execs found him to be, well, not quite Kosher--well, to be blunt, GAY. So they squirreled him away to write the script for Tarzan the Ape Man. Remember "Me Tarzan, you Jane"? Well, Ivor wrote that, and was left so parched he went back to England for his cup of tea. In 1951, after curtain calls, he went up to his flat above the theater, suffered a coronary seizure, and died. His buddy had to rush to Ivor's country home to burn papers and photos to spare Ivor & Friends ruinous embarrassment.

So come on, You there, join the Lodger in his sepia digs, two spacious rooms, tea and bread and butter, and hum "We'll Gather Lilacs" while Ivor princes about. Trust me, he wouldn't hurt a fly.

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