The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog ★★★½

Week 2 (late) of 52 Weeks Of Hitchcock

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Hitchcock's third film -- his second film, The Mountain Eagle, is lost -- was the first 'true' Hitchcock film, both in terms of style and quality. While The Pleasure Garden is really only interesting in context with the rest of Hitchcock's work, The Lodger works splendidly on its own. Starring Ivor Norvello as the eponymous lodger, and the first of many Hitchcock protagonists on the run for a crime he didn't commit. Quite a one-eighty from The Pleasure Garden (which only makes me more curious to see what The Mountain Eagle looked like, in terms of a transitional film), The Lodger is exquisitely shot, staged, scripted, & edited. Hitchcock only uses the bare minimum of interstitial title cards, and in the dynamic opening sequence actually uses them to great stylistic effect. The acting is really the only thing about the film that feels dated; June Tripp's performance is actually quite understated and lovely, but Michael Keen (her suitor) is hammy as anything, and even Norvello is a bit much, charismatic though he is (the dude could give Bela Lugosi or Max Schreck a run for their money). All told, this is a fantastic thriller, if simplistic by today's standards, and a fascinating and important entry in the Hitchcock canon.

The film has unfortunately not been released on Blu-ray here in the States, but I was able to import a Region B Blu-ray of the film from the U.K. and play it on a region-free drive. If this is within your means, I highly recommend doing so yourself; the BFI restoration is stunning, and the new score by Nitin Sawhney is wonderful; it manages to sound layered and complex while at the same time (mostly) remaining period-appropriate. He even experiments with lyrics over certain scenes, which is something I wish more composers of modern films would try (think Working Girl). At any rate, the Blu-ray is fantastic and well worth importing.