“He’s killed another fair girl.”
Whilst a serial killer known as “The Avenger” is murdering blonde women throughout London, a mysterious lodger (Ivor Novello) arrives at the home of landlords Marie Ault and Arthur Chesney and their grown daughter Daisy (June Tripp). Novello falls for Daisy, but her jealous boyfriend (Malcolm Keen) — a police detective — is convinced that Novello may be The Avenger, and begins to investigate the case.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Hitchcock Films
- Jack the Ripper
- Love Triangle
- Murder Mystery
- Serial Killers
Despite having helmed at least two earlier movies (1925’s The Pleasure Garden and 1926’s now-lost The Mountain Eagle), Alfred Hitchcock considered The Lodger — based on Marie Belloc Lowndes’ Jack the Ripper-inspired novel — to be his “true” directorial debut. While it possesses many elements of Hitch’s soon-to-be-signature style, however, it suffers from overly broad acting (Novello was a matinee idol, not a thespian) and terribly slow pacing. Like John Brahm’s 1944 remake (starring Laird Cregar), it’s both highly atmospheric and visually inspired (see stills below) — but also narratively flawed, given that there aren’t really any other suspects in sight. The Lodger only remains must-see viewing due to its status as an early outing by Hitchcock, and as a precursor to Brahm’s superior version.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A reasonably suspenseful tale of murder and romance
- Some cleverly framed shots
- Atmospheric cinematography
Yes, but only for its significance as one of Hitchcock’s earliest signature works. Listed as a film with historical importance and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.
- Historically Relevant
- Important Director