"Considered the first true Hitchcock film, 'The Lodger' is the director's most visually audacious masterpiece, made under the heavy influence of German Expressionism. Like his master, Fritz Lang, he imposes on his thriller narrative an angular, geometric grid: his use of domestic space, with its various levels, stairs, ceilings, walls, doorways, window frames etc., is part of the film's rich pleasure. He also shares with a Lang a relish for new technologies, analysiing the diffusion of media and their ability to whip up violent mob hysteria; while equating the policeman with a suspected serial killer. The Lodger's entrance, pure Guignol as he stands concealed in a black cape as the lights go out, reminds me of Conrad Veidt.What makes the film so Hitchcock is its Englishness; its joy in sensation (the film opens with a startlingly huge close-up of a blonde being murdered); provocative visual puns (there is much Hitchcockian fun with handcuffs; the first 'love' scene, with the Lodger's head looming and filling up the screen like the earlier female victim); and surprising sexiness (the heroine is a 'mannequin', justifying much backstage activity with girls in their underwear; a teasing bath scene); its Catholic iconography, riddling the Lodger with a much heavier guilt than murder. The film is so visually busy, especially in its first third, it threatens to overwhelm the picture, and Hitchcock would learn not to start at such a high pitch. But of all his British films, 'Lodger' is perhaps the closest to a (sour) vision of modern England. In its grim vision of media-provoked mob violence, its plot about a serial killer become mysterious celebrity, its portrait of an affluent, 'swinging' society masking murders and sexual dysfunction, this disturbing film could have been made for our times. 'Murder', an early talkie, is staid, even slow by comparison, although it conjures an equally nerve-racking London atmosphere, and contains some frightening scenes of violence. It is much more subtle enquiry into jury and justice than '12 Angry Men'."
Where are the restored versions?
Paul J. Mular | San Carlos, CA USA | 02/10/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"American Movie Classics restored "THE LODGER" from 35mm with original tints, yet the version they showed on their cable channel still eludes the DVD collector. Don't waste your time with this poor quality DVD, wait for AMC to release theirs.
As for "MURDER!", an excellent version of this was released over a decade ago on Laserdisc by Image Entertainment, why the hold out on DVD? Again, wait until the good copy gets released."
Mixed quality on this DVD 2fer
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 07/26/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Lodger was Hitch's fifth film. He had begun to develop many of the innovative techniques that would become a hallmark of his later films. The Lodger has one striking visual image making it worthwhile; as the people downstairs are listening to a man they suspect to be Jack the Ripper pacing above them, the floor becomes transparent and we actually see the character walking across the floorboards. This one sequence doesn't make the film but it illustrates Hitch's visual genius. 4 Years later Hitch made Murder. Again, his unique abilities in visually telling a story were striking. Although the story is quite interesting (and well shot) for its time, it has become a bit of a creaky melodrama with the passage of time. Still, there are a number of visual motifs that would crop up later in Hitch's other better known films. Comparing either film to Hitch's later mature works would be like comparing a child's performance at writing a trike to his or her later mastery of a 10 speed; while one can see talent it's clear that it hasn't been developed yet. These transfers are not the best around but given the age of the prints and the fact that the original nitrate negatives are no longer around, it's unlikely we'll ever see a pristine print
of either of these films."
Better copies are out there,look for them
John D. Page | usa | 05/23/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"both these movies are very good but you would never know from the poor prints that are used here. really very poor transfers hurt stories that both depend on strong visual scenes. skip it"
Better than most - but not much
Michael A. Anderson | 03/02/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Murder" looks at least as good or better than 3 other versions I have. It also includes about 8 minutes that was edited out of Laserlight/Delta's version. You will notice different print quality and tints here and there. They must've used the best they could find (copy).
"The Lodger" looks better than other versions I have, too. It has a new classical score and new title cards- which can be a little distracting at first.
I'm sure there are better prints out there based on the other reviews, but for now, it's OK."