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25 June 2011

[Silent Film Marathon] 14# The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Written by: Marie Belloc Lowndes & Elliot Stannard
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Runtime: 91 Minutes

During the silent era was the rise of director Alfred Hitchcock, whose name would later be known by millions. He made several films in the 20’s period, one being The Lodger. Watch this, and see the birth of one of the world’s greatest directors. Fresh from British cinema arrived Hitchcock was his suspenseful direction and alongside the grand casting, The Lodger holds out as a wonderful display of mystery. Young director Hitchcock, at the age of 28 at this point, his career would later boom. The Lodger plays significance as it introduced themes that would later run through much of Hitchcock’s later work where an innocent man is on the run hunted down by a self-righteous society. One that springs to mind is Hitchcock’s wonderfully suspenseful Stage Fright, which would have been made 3 decades after this film. The film was made in Britain where Hitchcock spent his early year and is one of the best British silent films to an extent.
Plot:
Set in London, the story begins with hearings of a murderer who has a theme of killing fair haired women and leaving a triangular piece of card saying on it, ‘The Avenger’. These murders are being done by a man who is soon to be caught, known as ‘Jack the Ripper’, a name that many will know of. A man named Jonathon Drew’s (Ivor Novello), a quiet and secretive young man rents a room in a London boarding house. The story progresses, circumstantial evidence begins to mount pointing the finger at Jonathon. The truth soon comes out and the murderer be brought to justice.

Suspense without words
The terrific thing that The Lodger does is create an atmosphere of suspense through expressions, cutting, close-ups and all that other cinematic jazz. Inspired by the cinematic work of the Germans the film turned out to be more influential than even those. The Lodger is often considered Hitchcock’s first great film and that is agreeable to an extent. Through the claustrophobic lighting and ominous camera angles, Hitchcock has a stain of his style on his films. Lest we forget his small cameos often in his films, which in this one he sits at a newsroom with his head turned at the camera 3 minutes into the film. Hitchcock has certainly created suspense without words thought this picture.
Jonathan on his arrival.
I’m Innocent!
Hitchcock’s great theme of an innocent man who is on the run from being frames of a crime he did not commit was practically born here and recycled as it may seem, each time he manages to play it out. The Lodger has a great cast of characters and acting from the talented actors. The actress ‘June’ plays Daisy, a young woman whose first love life is Mr Bunting (Arthur Chesney), but later into Jonathon’s stay at the boarding house, she falls in love with him. The finger pointing and accusations is what gives this film it’s burst of energy and is one of the many reasons this genre is so entertaining.
Daisy.
Overview:
Although the films s early into Hitchcock’s career, that would soon be renown, it is most likely one of his best. Even saying that most of his films are enjoyable, suspenseful and full of mysteries and thrills. The film’s only flaw is the lack of seen violence, that would make more of an impression, but leaving it has done gives it more edge for the audience to think about the murder with imagination. The Lodger is cleverly inventive with terrific direction from Hitchcock and is among some of his best work because of it’s suspense without words, great cinematography and zestful acting.

My Rating: 8/10


2 comments:

  1. Good stuff, glad to see you like silent films. And sorry about that loser trashing you on your review of Nosferatu. I liked that film a lot as well and your writing is fine!

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Matt S
    Thanks man, he's in the past now anyway. I also enjoy your blog!

    ReplyDelete

 

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