Jump to: navigation, search

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)

 
0002.jpg
director Alfred Hitchcock
producers Michael Balcon
Carlyle Blackwell
writer Eliot Stannard
story by Marie Belloc Lowndes
starring Ivor Novello
Marie Ault
Arthur Chesney
June Tripp
Malcolm Keen
cinematographer Gaetano di Ventimiglia
editor Ivor Montagu
 
running time 80 minutes (7,500 feet)
colour black & white
sound mix silent with English intertitles
aspect ratio 1.33:1
studio Gainsborough Pictures
distributor Wardour Films (UK)
availability DVD & Blu-ray
 

Synopsis

A serial killer known as "The Avenger" is on the loose in London, murdering blonde women. A mysterious man arrives at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting looking for a room to rent. The Bunting's daughter is a blonde model and is seeing one of the detectives assigned to the case. The detective becomes jealous of the lodger and begins to suspect he may be the avenger.

Production

Whilst Hitchcock was still in Munich directing the "The Mountain Eagle", Michael Balcon had already chosen the director's next project for Gainsborough — an adaptation of Marie Belloc Lowndes' popular 1913 novel The Lodger.

Pre-Production

News of the film was carried by the British press at the start of 1926 and matinée idol Ivor Novello was announced as the lead in February.[1][2]

Screenplay

With typical efficiency, Eliot Stannard had completed the scenario by February. In the original novel, the lodger is likely a serial killer, but to appease the box-office, Stannard's treatment reveals Novello's lodger to be innocent of the killings.

Once the scenario was complete, Hitchcock began sketching and storyboarding the entire film.[3][4]

Casting

Novello, Tripp and Keen

Marie Ault and Arthur Chesney were cast as the landlords whilst June Tripp, a dancer and music hall comedian who had previously worked with Novello, was cast as their daughter, Daisy. To add romantic and dramatic tension to the story, Stannard had given Daisy a policeman suitor and Malcolm Keen, fresh from working with Hitchcock in Munich was cast in the role.

Principal Photography

Filming began in the spring of 1926 and was completed within six weeks.[5]

The expressionistic influence Hitchcock had picked up whilst in Germany is apparent in the many close-ups and overhead "God's Eye" shots. [6]

Fresh from Berlin, Hitch was so imbued with the value of unusual camera angles and lighting effects with which to create and sustain dramatic suspense that often a scene which would not run for more than three minutes on the screen would take an morning to shoot.[7]
— June Tripp
Hitchcock on the set

Arguably the most memorable sequence in the film is when the Bunting's gaze apprehensively up at their kitchen ceiling, listening to the lodger pacing in the room above. The ceiling becomes transparent and, from below, we see Novello walking back and forth (across a thick sheet of toughened glass).

"The Lodger" also marks the first known cameo appearance of Hitchcock, where he appears with his back to the camera in a newsroom. A second often-reported cameo in a crowd scene near the end of the film seems very unlikely to be the director. According to Ivor Montagu, the cameos were inspired by Hitchcock's admiration for director D.W. Griffith who often played small parts in his early films.[8]

Post-Production

Novello as The Lodger

By all accounts, release of the initial edit of the film was blocked by distributor C.M. Woolf, perhaps influenced by Graham Cutts, who had previously shelved Hitchcock's other two films. Feeling that the film could be improved, Balcon hired Ivor Montagu to re-edit "The Lodger".

They ran the film, with which at once I fell enthusiastically in love. Now, the hackneyed treatment of the plot and a weakness in characterisation makes it look primitive. Then, by contrast with the work of his seniors and contemporaries, all Hitch’s special qualities stood out raw: the narrative skill, the ability to tell the story and create the tension in graphic combination, and the feeling for London scenes and characters.[9]
— Ivor Montagu (1980)

Montagu's claim that Hitchcock's edit contained up to 500 intertitles seems likely an exageration, but he worked with the director during the summer months to tighten up the film. One of the other improvements was to hire American poster artist Edward McKnight Kauffer to design the animated triangular title cards.[10]

A successful trade screening of the re-edited film in September overcame Woolf's prior objections and also opened the door to "The Pleasure Garden" (and possibly "The Mountain Eagle") being released in the UK.[11][12]

Release & Reception

See Also...

For further relevant information about this film, see also...

Blu-ray Releases

released in 2012

0810.gif The Lodger (1927) - Network (Blu-ray, UK, 2012)
Amazon (UK)

DVD Releases

released in 2012

0811.gif The Lodger (1927) - Network (UK, 2012)
R2 PAL 1.33:1

released in 2008

0809.gif The Lodger (1927) - MGM Home Entertainment (USA, 2008) - part of a box set
R1 NTSC 1.33:1 [01:39:24]
0808.gif The Lodger (1927) - Network (UK, 2008) - part of a box set
R2/4 PAL 1.33:1 [01:30:09]

...view older DVD releases

Image Gallery

Images from the Hitchcock Gallery (click to view larger versions or search for all relevant images)...

Film Frames

...loading images - please wait

Themes

Cast and Crew

Directed by:

Starring:

Produced by:

Written by:

Photographed by:

Edited by:

Other crew

References

  1. The Times (05/Jan/1926) - The Film World
  2. The Times (02/Feb/1926) - The Film World
  3. "The Encyclopedia of Alfred Hitchcock" - by Thomas M. Leitch, page 184
  4. Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 80
  5. MacGilligan says filming began in March, but Leitch says filming started in June.
  6. Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 83
  7. Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page83
  8. Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 86
  9. Sight and Sound (1980) - Working with Hitchcock
  10. Sight and Sound (1980) - Working with Hitchcock
  11. "The Encyclopedia of Alfred Hitchcock" - by Thomas M. Leitch, page 184
  12. BFI most-wanted: The Mountain Eagle — film historian Jenny Hammerton has speculated that Wardour Films may have shelved "The Mountain Eagle" in favour of releasing "Downhill" in the UK instead.
Hitchcock's Major Films
1920s The Pleasure Garden · The Mountain Eagle · The Lodger · Downhill · Easy Virtue · The Ring · The Farmer's Wife · Champagne · The Manxman · Blackmail
1930s Juno and the Paycock · Murder! · The Skin Game · Rich and Strange · Number Seventeen · Waltzes from Vienna · The Man Who Knew Too Much · The 39 Steps · Secret Agent · Sabotage · Young and Innocent · The Lady Vanishes · Jamaica Inn
1940s Rebecca · Foreign Correspondent · Mr and Mrs Smith · Suspicion · Saboteur · Shadow of a Doubt · Lifeboat · Spellbound · Notorious · The Paradine Case · Rope · Under Capricorn
1950s Stage Fright · Strangers on a Train · I Confess · Dial M for Murder · Rear Window · To Catch a Thief · The Trouble with Harry · The Man Who Knew Too Much · The Wrong Man · Vertigo · North by Northwest
1960s Psycho · The Birds · Marnie · Torn Curtain · Topaz
1970s Frenzy · Family Plot
( view full filmography )

Comments

comments powered by Disqus