Zoe and I have begun our Hitchcock blogathon this month and today’s first review will be from Lauro O of FilmNerdBlog.
She has some great stuff on her site and I personally really enjoy her reviews, so if you don’t already follow her, I suggest you do so.
Thanks Laura for participating
Let’s see what she has to say about Hitchcock 3rd feature…The Lodger
Alfred Hitchcock is a legend for a reason. He was a prolific and innovative director, with an astounding back catalogue that includes some of the best films ever made. Fact. If you hadn’t already guessed, I’m a massive fan. I’ve been a fan of his work since I first saw Psycho, North by Northwest, Shadow of a Doubt and Vertigo, as a teenager. Until now I’d never gone as far back as the silent era before, but I’m really glad I gave this a go.
Hitchcock transports us to a gloomy and, umm, foggy London, where there’s a killer on the loose. Known as “The Avenger” for the calling card he leaves at each crime scene, the unseen antagonist has a penchant for blondes. Much like Hitchcock himself.
Cut to the Bunting house, home of Mr and Mrs Bunting and their daughter Daisy, and soon to be home of the titular lodger. There is an obvious attraction between Daisy and the lodger, but his odd behaviour soon raises suspicions and there’s genuine fear for her safety. The lodger is a stranger after all, and Daisy has a head of golden curls. Golden curls that The Avenger likes so much.
There are several very striking things about The Lodger. Firstly, once you get past the lack of audio dialogue it really is amazing quite how well this film stands up, all these years later. I mean, my grandparents hadn’t even been born when this came out! Yes, the acting style is very different from anything I’m used to. It may seem hammy at first, but when you think about it, the actors had to convey all their emotions through facial expressions and gestures. I think what they achieve is actually very impressive.
The music is a bit OTT too, but again, I think that’s forgivable seeing as they didn’t have the luxury of dialogue, tone of voice or sound effects.
Then there’s the fact that Hitch was already playing with the medium, sensibilities and expectations of what’s possible on film. Some of the visual flourishes are extremely clever, especially when you consider that cinema really was in its infancy. I direct you to the glass ceiling Hitch uses to show the lodger pacing back and forth in the room above the Buntings.
Oh, and as if that weren’t enough, we get to see the sprouting seedling of one of Hitch’s core themes. A theme that he would come back to again and again throughout the entire length of his career. From The 39 Steps, to North by Northwest, from Frenzy to the aptly titled The Wrong Man. The theme is of course, that of the wrong man – the man whom everyone thinks done it. I got a real thrill to see such an early example of this, having seem it so many times throughout his later work.
It really is classic Hitchcock with all the trimmings, and even though this is right at the start of old Hitch’s 50+ year career, we can already see the seeds of the future brilliance that would make him possibly the most influential director ever. All hail Hitchcock!
Also, Ivor Novello was kind of hot.
You could go and find a trailer but I think you should just watch the whole thing here: