One of Hitchcock’s earliest film, the silent black and white piece, The Lodger is the next title on the What Else to Watch list in DK Canada’s The Movie Book, following the viewing recommendation of Murnau’s classic Sunrise.
You can definitely see hints of what is to come from the master, as he works from an adapted novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes.
There is a serial killer stalking the streets of London, calling himself The Avenger. He has a type, and women with golden curls are at the top of that list. A local household becomes the centre of the story, when a landlady (Marie Ault) lets out a room to a man (Ivor Novello), who matches the issued description of the murderer.
The landlady’s daughter, Daisy (June Tripp) and her beau, Joe (Malcolm Keen) who serves as a police officer are troubled at first to learn about the new lodger, but soon, Daisy finds herself attracted to him, and her relationship with Joe falls apart.
As the murders continue, Joe begins to suspect that the Lodger may, in fact, be the serial killer. A belief that convinces the landlady and her husband (Arthur Chesney). But is he driven by a sense of justice, or are these the actions of a rebuffed lover?
The film is quickly paced, and the story moves pretty quickly, walking the line of romantic thriller rather nicely for its short run time.
The viewing audience is right there with Joe, and you can’t help but be nervous whenever Daisy is near the Lodger. His odd behaviour and interactions with everyone is unnerving, and you just want Daisy to be safe.
Is the Lodger the murderer? is he someone else? How is he involved with the killer? It ends up being a pretty solid tale.
All of the characters are fairly broad, but they have to be in a silent film, the viewing audience has to project their own emotions into the storytelling, especially one that walks the fine line of thriller and love story.
For Hitchcock fans, this is the first film he made which features his trademark cameo. I am almost ashamed to admit that this is a Hitchcock film that I hadn’t seen before, so it was all new to me. Is it one of his best, no. The story is too basic, the characters too broad, and the film too short, but you can see that he had the talent and the knack for crafting a strong scene right from the beginning.
So, you see, DK Canada’s The Movie Book continues to inform and educate me in the ways of film and cinema. Think of all the titles you could discover if you picked up a copy today!