The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

1928

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1928)

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Movie Info

While the silent The Lodger was not director Alfred Hitchcock's first film, it was the first to truly deserve the designation "A Hitchcock Picture". British matinee idol Ivor Novello plays Jonathan Drew, a quiet, secretive young man who rents a room in a London boarding house. Drew's arrival coincides with the reign of Terror orchestrated by Jack the Ripper. As the film progresses, circumstantial evidence begins to mount, pointing to Drew as the selfsame Ripper. In addition to Novello's 1932 remake, The Lodger was remade in 1944 with Laird Cregar, then again in 1953 as Man in the Attic, with Jack Palance as Jonathan Drew. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Cast

Ivor Novello
as The Lodger
June
as Daisy Bunting
Marie Ault
as Mrs. Bunting
Arthur Chesney
as Mr. Bunting
Malcolm Keen
as Joe Betts, the Policeman and Daisy's Fiance

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Critic Reviews for The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (3)

The picture has a very, very excellent begining, a mediocre middle and a most deplorable ending. A minor fault is that its running time is about fifteen minutes too long.

Mar 25, 2006 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

Hitch's most overtly Hitchcockian silent film ...

Feb 9, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Not a great film, but a remarkable one, with Hitchcock at his most 'innovative.'

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Hitchcock began as a title designer and an art director before graduating to the director's chair and he draws on those talents, as well as his lessons from the German film studios where expressionism was the rage, for this film.

Aug 3, 2017 | Full Review…

Alfred Hitchcock had already directed a couple of films before helming The Lodger, but this is the movie that was commonly called (even by the Master himself) "the first Alfred Hitchcock picture."

Jul 1, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Hitchcock's most underrated movie.

Jun 2, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

Now we're cookin'. This is very early Hitchock, like I think one of his first five films. But even though it wasn't his very first, it was the first he really considered his own, and it set the standard for the bulk of his career over the course of the next several decades, by introducing a lot of Hitch hallmarks including his cameo, the "wrong man" theme, visual innovations and stylishness, etc. The story concerns a woman who fears that the latest tenant to take up residence at her boarding house is a Jack the Ripper style murderer known as The Avenger whose been on a recent murder spree across London. Looking back, the story is nothing new or revelatory, and it may not have even been so then, but it's a good yarn, and lots of fun. The film's got a great sense of mood, tone, and atmosphere, complete with lots of fog and some really fitting music. There's some excellent cinematography here, with some neat angles and great lighting. There's some really good art direction as well. The performances are pretty decent, and get the job done, though I don't think they're really brilliant or anything. Overall, this is definitely a must see for Hitchcock fans and general cinema lovers alike. It hasn't really aged that great, but it's still a good piece of work.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

I'm starting to think that Hitchcock was better suited for a career of silent films. With no dialogue spoken, Hitch weaves an intricate tale of murder, mass hysteria, jealousy, and the fear that grips the soul that turns man against man. Without the aid of future technology, Hitchcock finds fascinating ways to play with the audience. Whether it be having Ivor Novello walk on a piece of glass, giving the illusion that we are watching him walk on the ceiling above, or really emphasizing every time the lodger picks up a potentially lethal device, a trick used over and over again throughout the ages, this film is very well done. On top of this, Mr. Novello gives quite an unforgettable performance. Brooding, menacing, but with a sweetness underneath it all. It is a fine line, but he walks it masterfully. While not one that you are sure to watch over and over again, it would be a great pick for a friend who gets turned off by "silent pictures." It moves at the pace of its contemporaries and is far better than what passes for most "thrillers" nowadays.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

½

ivor novello was a bit hammy but he compensated by turning up later as a character in gosford park :) seriously, the film owes ALOT to the german expressionists and the plot is rather predictable but it is fascinating to see the genesis of hitch's beloved 'wrong man' theme. some creative visual touches too

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Alfred Hitchcock considered this film his first movie, ignoring his two previous attempts at direction as he considered them not very well made. The Lodger would represent his true introduction to the film world and the genre that he would define for close to fifty years. London is in a state of panic as a murderer is killing golden, curly haired women. There is constant agitation and an introduction to the now famed concept of media hysteria. Extra! Extra! Daisy (June) is one of those golden haired females roaming around London. She lives with her parents (Marie Ault and Arthur Chesney) who rent out a room to would be lodgers that are canvassing London. One such lodger (Ivor Novello) moves into the room, acting oddly much to the suspicion of Daisy's would be boy friend Joe (Malcolm Keen), who happens to be the detective investigating the murder case. Being a silent film, The Lodger uses faces to convey more of the plot than dialogue. This was typical before talkies. What Hitchcock does with The Lodger goes beyond what was typical for films in the later 1920's. He creates an atmosphere that is almost a character itself. Light and shadow dictate what's playing out on screen. He opens the film with the flash of a marquee sign (though we don't know that) saying "To-nite: Golden Curls" almost like an omen on what the killer has a blood lust for. The Lodger is the first of a long line of masterpieces created by Alfred Hitchcock. This is really where it all began on the silent studios of London, developing into a career rivaled by only a few others. The formula is here in its infant form and even though generations would pass in his career, Hitchcock continued to deliver with the concept over and over again. A silent era gem.

Chris Garman
Chris Garman

Super Reviewer

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