The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) – The Fear of the Other

The Lodger

“The Lodger,” is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s earliest works (1927) and is a silent film that captures many of the themes and tropes of his later films. The film takes place in London during a spat of murders of blond haired women by a killer known as The Avenger. The name of the film is because a mysterious man takes up in the house of the main family that the story follows as they are left wondering if he is the murder.

It is based off a story and a co-written play by Marie Belloc Lowndes called “Who is He?” I plan on reading both.

Here is my assessment of the film:

The Pros: The music – Captures the tension beautifully since the is no speaking since this is a silent picture. The only words are shown on the screen or sung in two songs. The music also reminds me of Hitchcock’s later works…he moves between romance, tension, fear and humor so deftly.

The actors – Do a fantastic job. They only have body and face to be there characters and they do it wonderfully. The Lodger is especially creepy but endearing and Daisy is memorable as the heroine(a blond haired one at that, another Hitchcock trope).

The characters – Are interesting, the only one I didn’t like was the detective who kept kitting on Daisy when she clearly wasn’t into him. He kept talking about their relationship when there was clearly none there. The parents are great to as protective and good intentioned…and the Lodger captures the mystery of the unknown Other perfectly.

The story – Is fantastic, the stakes are established early which makes the Lodger’s arrival add mystery…since he doesn’t act like anyone else but is still kind. The mystery of who he really is is fantastic to watch.

SPOILERS

The Ending and Theme – The Lodger is innocent. People connecting the dots of how he was connected to the criminal (his sister was the first victim) is revealed over time and you see why he as difficulty trusting because of it. He in turn isn’t trusted either because of how strange he is leading to a mob trying to kill him until the real killer is caught. Daisy saves him (Hitchcock has some of the best heroes and heroines) and they get together for real.

Okay: Length – It drags a bit at times which is the only thing I can say against it. It could have been faster and still had the same emotional payoff.

This is a fantastic film and one of my favorites (like most of Hitchcock’s work that I’ve watched). The theme of not letting fear rule our actions in regards to others is important. The mob almost kills an innocent man because of that fear and distrust of someone they didn’t even know. This is sadly common and is part of human nature, but a part of human nature we can deal with situation by situation while still being cautious. I love Hitchock’s tropes of the Other, the Heroine and the danger and mystery of human nature (for good and ill), and this film captures that beautifully.

I highly recommend: 9.7 / 10

Not the perfect Hitchcock but one of the best.

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