The Lodger: A Story Of The London Fog (1927)

dir. Alfred Hitchcock. In foggy 1920s London, a killer is roaming the streets, killing fair-haired women on Tuesday evenings. A handsome, nervous young man rents rooms from an elderly couple, and begins making eyes at their attractive young daughter, but he’s hiding a secret! Hitchcock’s third feature film, and in conversation with François Truffaut, he called it “the first true Hitchcock picture”. This film remains very atmospheric, with dramatic and inventive lighting, charming performances, and a genuine tension throughout the whole story. There are many examples of what would become signature Hitchcock moments, including two from the wonderful, THE THIRTY NINE STEPS (1935), the lovable working class elderly couple beaming at the young lovers, and the suspenseful use of an overcoat to cover up handcuffs to elude the police. Perhaps the most striking future looking element is the presence of the psychosexual connection between visual art, and suppressed memories of violence which Hitchcock would perfect in VERTIGO (1958). While I did not notice the first time, Alfred Hitchcock has his first on-screen cameo as a police officer with his back to the camera. This cameo is during the montage showing the making of a newspaper headline, from journalist in a phone booth, to the massive printing presses, the delivery truck on the road, right up to newspaper boy on the street: “7th Avenger Murder!” (no connection to the Marvel cinematic universe).

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.