Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog - 1927

Country: UK
Language: English
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Marie Belloc Lowndes (from the novel by), Eliot Stannard (scenario), Alfred Hitchcock (uncredited) and Marie Belloc Lowndes    (play "Who Is He?" - uncredited)
Stars: June, Ivor Novello and Marie Ault
Release Date: 14 February 1927 (UK)
Also known as:  El inquilino (Argentina / Mexico / Venezuela), A titokzatos lakó (Hungary), De geheimzinnige gast (Netherlands - alternative title), Der Mieter (Germany), Der Mieter - Eine Geschichte aus dem Londoner Nebel (Germany), Der Schrecken von London (Austria), El enemigo de las rubias (Spain), Il pensionante (Italy),
L'inquilino (Italy), Les cheveux d'or (France), Lokator (Poland),Lokator: Opowiesc o londynskiej mgle (Poland - DVD title), London-mysteriet (Denmark), O Hóspede (Portugal), O enoikiastis (Greece), The Case of Jonathan Drew (undefined), The Lodger (Australia - TV title), Vuokralainen     (Finland)
Filming Locations: Islington, London, England, UK
Budget: £12,000 (estimated)
Production companies: Gainsborough Pictures (produced by), Carlyle Blackwell Productions (as Piccadilly Pictures Ltd.) (controlled throughout the world by)
Runtime: 74 min (National Film Archive print)  | USA: 90 min (TCM print)  | Spain: 67 min (VHS version)  | Canada: 98 min (Ontario)
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Trivia: This is the earliest film directed by Alfred Hitchcock that survives today in its entirety.
Alfred Hitchcock wanted an ambiguous ending to the film, but the studio wouldn't allow it to be implied that the lodger might actually be the murderer.
The movie is based on the book of the same name, by Marie Belloc Lowndes. It was the first book to offer a solution to the Jack The Ripper killings. The book is supposedly based on an anecdote told to the painter Walter Sickert by the landlady when renting a room; she said that the previous tenant had been Jack the Ripper. The book was quite popular in its day, was filmed numerous times, and adapted for the radio multiple times, once with Peter Lorre as the lodger.
Hitchcock told François Truffaut that, though he had made two films prior to this, he considered this his first true film.
Debut of Reginald Gardiner.
This is the first film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in which he makes one of his trademark cameo appearances.
For the opening scene, where the Avenger's murder victim faces the camera and screams, Alfred Hitchcock filmed the scene by having the actress lie down on a large sheet of glass, with her golden hair spread out around her head. He then lit the actress from underneath the sheet of glass, and filmed her with a camera mounted on its side, with the lens pointed at a downward angle. This gave the appearance that the actress's hair (with its golden curls, so important to the murderer) was ringed in a halo of light.
For the opening of the film, Alfred Hitchcock wanted to show the Avenger's murder victim being dragged out of the Thames River at night with the Charing Cross Bridge in the background. But Scotland Yard refused his request to film at the bridge. Hitchcock repeated his request several times, until Scotland Yard notified him that they would "look the other way" if he could do the filming in one night. Hitchcock quickly sent his cameras and actors out to Charing Cross Bridge to film the scene. But when the rushes came back from the developers, the scene at the bridge was nowhere to be found. Hitchcock and his assistants searched through the prints, but could not find it. Finally, Hitchcock discovered that his cameraman had forgotten to put the lens on the camera before filming the night scene.
Ivor Novello reprised his role in the 1932 sound remake of The Phantom Fiend, directed by Maurice Elvey. Hitchcock was asked to serve as director for the remake, but declined. The 1932 film was released in the United States as "The Phantom Fiend."
Alfred Hitchcock's cameo as an extra came by accident when he didn't have enough people for extras in a scene, he decided to help by appearing in the scene himself. As a result, he decided to turn his appearance into one of his trademarks with him performing silent walk-on bits in most of his later films appearing as uncredited extras.
Director cameo. Alfred Hitchcock:  a desk in the newsroom early in the film. Some people claim he also appears later in the crowd lynch scene. 
After the lodger escapes handcuffed, Daisy meets him sitting on a bank in the street. Then she sits down side by side with him. After that he puts his head on her right shoulder, with his face touching her face. Between shots she appears alone with nobody on her shoulder.
In one of the heralded shots of the film, Daisy, her mother, and Joe look at the ceiling to see the chandelier shaking. We then see "through" the ceiling to a shot of the lodger's feet pacing back and forth. This was a unique way to imply the sound of footsteps in a silent film. However, it's clear from the layout of the house that the room the family is in is *not* beneath the room in which the lodger is pacing. 
When Joe is talking to Daisy in the kitchen, the position of Joe's arms varies between shots. 
In shots looking downstairs to the hand-cuffed Daisy, the lodger's position varies between left shoulder forward to the camera and right shoulder forward. 
Revealing mistakes
When the lodger is playing a game of chess with Daisy (about 26 minutes into the movie), the chessboard is set up wrong. A game of chess is always played with a black square on the far-left and a white square on the far-right of the board as they face it; on this occasion the board is the wrong way around and should be rotated 90 degrees in either direction for it to be correct.
Genres: Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller
A serial killer known as "The Avenger" is on the loose in London, murdering blonde women. A mysterious man arrives at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting looking for a room to rent. The Bunting's daughter is a blonde model and is seeing one of the detectives assigned to the case. The detective becomes jealous of the lodger and begins to suspect he may be the avenger.

No comments:

Post a Comment