The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) March 23rd, 2020
John Conner and I share a birthday. Sure he’s a couple years older than me but I’ve clung to it because there’s really no one cooler born that day. Back in 2029 John knowingly sent his father back in time to meet and save his mother from automated assassination. John made Kyle commit to memory a message to be delivered to his mother Sarah when they first met in 1984. Part of that message is this “There’s no fate but what we make ourselves.” Well… we made The List, and The List demanded more Hitchcock. Proving John Conner right once again.
Despite how masterful Saboteur is, I really didn’t want to watch more Hitchcock. I certainly didn’t want to watch two nights in a row. More specifically, I was perusing the Criterion Channel and discovered that the “British Hitchcock” collection I previously thought removed from the channel was in fact sitting right there with fewer available titles than before. The oldest title available was the 93 year old The Lodger: A Story of London Fog which I’ll subsequently refer to as simply The Lodger.
This was Hitchcocks third directorial work. A silent film about a series of serial murders all taking place on Tuesdays, all the victims young blond women. A mysterious man matching the description of the murder suspect seeks a room at a B&B where a young blonde woman works. Suspense, mystery and intrigue unfold.
The Lodger feels like exactly what it is: an early Hitchcock film. Present are many Hitchcockian motifs. A distrust of the police, a fear of heights and his penchant for inflicting harm on blondes (on and off camera). Early in the film Hitchcock uses a number of techniques to get around the lack of sound while also delivering the complex plot exposition. Telegrams, typewriters and marquees all help literally spell out the story for the audience. It’s no wonder he adapted so well to talkies. It’s fun to see that even early on in his career, Hitchcock was skillfully framing shots and exercising his creativity to set up visual callbacks like “To-Night Golden Curls”.
Sorry, if you think I’m going to spoil a 93 year old movie then you don’t know who you’re reading… from? If you don’t like silent films, Alfred Hitchcock or movies influenced by expressionism then you probably won’t like this movie. So don’t waste your time. Why spend your precious time in captivity watching the works of a master filmmaker for the first time? You’d have to be stuck inside with nothing else to do before you’d do that right? C’est la vie.
It would be fun to pretend the next post won’t be another Hitchcock film, but I can’t promise that. I don’t really know what the next movie IS going to be but I know the likelihood of another Hitchcock movie is very high. Like exponentially higher than any other director at the moment. Like, we could keep a safe distance from other Hitchcock films and flatten the curve, ya know, spread out his films over time as to not overwhelm ourselves… but that’s probably just mass media mind control or some shit right? Screw them. Washing my hands and not touching my Hitchcock… films is exactly what the people who tell us not to buy toilet paper want! What are they? In the pocket of big-bidet? I’ll wash my hands all right, wash them of the nanny-state. They think I need something bigger than me to tell me what to do next? Like hell I do! Now where did I put The List..?
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