- Actors: June Tripp, Ivor Novello, Marie Ault, Arthur Chesney, Malcolm Keen
- Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
- Writers: Alfred Hitchcock, Eliot Stannard, Marie Belloc Lowndes
- Producers: Carlyle Blackwell, Michael Balcon
- Language: English
- Classification: PG
- Studio: Bfi
- VHS Release Date: 24 Jan. 2000
- Run Time: 93 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00004D0EZ
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 350,583 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
The Lodger [VHS] 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Alfred Hitchcock described this, his third feature, as the first to display the patented Hitch 'touch' (it was also the first to feature a cameo by the director). The foggy streets of London have fallen prey to the 'Avenger' - an unknown killer whose victims are all blonde women. When a handsome lodger (Ivor Novello) arrives at a local boarding house, his suspicious behaviour leads to him being accused of the crimes and hotly pursued by a lynch mob out for justice. But is he really guilty? Joby Talbot of the Divine Comedy provides a new musical score for this restored version of the film.
Although Alfred Hitchcock had made two movies before The Lodger, he told François Truffaut that this was his first true film. And indeed, The Lodger contains elements that would appear again and again in the Master's later, more famous creations. It boasts the first of the famous "wrong man" plots and contains the first sequence in which handcuffs play a significant role. If your eye is quick, you will also catch the first of Hitchcock's famous cameo appearances (he actually appears on-screen more than once).
The Lodger is also one of the first memorable pictures about the hunt for a serial killer. Terrified women and strange masked men walk the streets of London in a movie whose visual style was influenced by the German expressionists. In one tense sequence, the ceiling of a room becomes transparent and a character can be seen pacing back and forth on the floor above. The climactic chase is one of the most exciting Hitchcock ever filmed. This taut early film is a fine introduction to the silent cinema as well as to one of the world's greatest and most entertaining filmmakers. --Raphael Shargel
Top customer reviews
Silent film scores tend to work best when they DO NOT draw attention to themselves. They shouldn't detract from the visual experience ... silent films are a pictorial medium ... the score should subtly reference and flow smoothly with the imagery on screen and the moods they convey. There are obviously composers who know and understand this, with Carl Davis probably the most experienced and respected in this field. Several years ago, Turner Classic Movies actually created a competition for young composers to try their hand at scoring several of the silents in the MGM/Warner collections. Most of those scores were very well done. Whoever organized and watched over the results obviously understood the basic criteria for successful silent film scoring. On the flip side of the coin are the composers who are commissioned for this task who find it necessary to either "experiment" or personalize their music beyond the perimeters of SERVING the film they are commissioned to score.
The new score for THE LODGER, which is being promoted rather prominently for the new dvd/blu-ray release, is frequently much too busy a score to serve the film properly. The composer had the benefit of the London Symphony Orchestra to play it, though there are many instances when the music seems to go off in its own direction, failing to UNDERscore what is going on a particular scene ... I'm being a bit harsh here, because there are times when it DOES work, but there are also opportunities missed to complement or enhance the visuals (and serve the Hitchcockian suspense), which are instead subjected to a seemingly random orchestration as though synchronizing to the moods on screen were less a priority than exploiting the composer's personal intuition. That's all very well for the composer's ego, but it is not serving the silent film in a complementary manner. In cases like this, I very often simply reduce the volume so the musical accompaniment is barely noticeable (happily an easy option when viewing a film in a home theater), however I had to go completely silent when a totally inappropriate vocalization intruded upon a lengthy sequence early in the film (recurring once again towards the climax, threatening to undermine that sequence as well!). Vocalizations were occasionally used by studios in the late 1920's for silents like 7TH HEAVEN, THE MAN WHO LAUGHS and A WOMAN OF AFFAIRS, and they were mostly disastrous! I'm quite sure Hitchcock would NEVER have sanctioned it for THE LODGER!
Actually, THE LODGER has been issued on dvd before, and there have been two earlier "scores" available, one a rather poor compilation of old recordings, and another an uneven accompaniment which was at least an improvement on the previous one. I had high hopes that this new 2012 score might be definitive, but sadly this is not the case. Kevin Brownlow used a clip from THE LODGER in his excellent documentary, CINEMA EUROPE, and those moments from the film scored by Carl Davis were certainly an example of how well this film could be served by a proper score. This new score by Nitin Sawhney was apparently commissioned by the British Film Institute to accompany their restoration of THE LODGER. The visuals HAVE been improved significantly, so the blu-ray is definitely worth the investment for Hitchcock and silent devotees. But the score is a disappointment, and I hope, if the BFI continues to release blu-rays of the restored Hitchcock silents, that they will be more careful and selective in their choice of composer. Once again, the priority of a silent film score should be to serve the FILM most importantly, far less than the whims or "creative instincts" of the composer.
Concerning the image quality of the blu-ray, I found it necessary to lower the brightness and increase the contrast on my monitor settings to achieve the most pleasing picture. This may very well depend upon the equipment you are using, although I have found that this sort of adjustment has sometimes been necessary for vintage films on blu-ray, while others appear perfectly composed with a "standard" setting, without any adjustment. The image in general has been vastly improved by the BFI restoration, and the film grain is apparent and pleasing throughout most of the film. THE LODGER has been a somewhat problematic film in the past due to the obviously lackluster prints which survived, so this upgrade in the blu-ray format is certainly most welcome. I doubt if another orchestral score will be commissioned anytime soon, which unfortunately makes this release (a highly anticipated one) a mixed bag.
Though Hitchcock was only 27 when he made The Lodger, and three films into his career, it's fascinating to see a few glimpses of the style which would become so identifiable with him in the future. It's impressive to see just how capable he was even at this early stage, with the scene where the Lodger and Daisy kiss, as well as the urgent climax, both masterly and unforgettably directed. He'd obviously been watching a lot of German expressionistic films at the time, and it's surprising to see just how much influence those Weimar directors like F.W. Murnau and Fritz Lang had on the young Hitchcock (check the stark lighting coming through the window for all the evidence you need of this). Despite taking inspiration from films like Dr. Mabuse the Gambler and Nosferatu, The Lodger still feels like a Hitchcock film. It's a great film in its own right, with lots of trademark Hitchcock suspense, but it's also great to have this insight into his early career.
This is the first film of the BFI's recent 'Save the Hitchcock 9' campaign to see home release. Over the last couple of years they have been raising money to ensure that the surviving early Hitchcock films could undergo extensive restorations, thereby preserving them for the future. So I was cautiously optimistic that this would look pretty good, taking into account the BFI's history with film restoration (see The Great White Silence if you want to see how good properly restored silent film can look), as well as Network DVD's very solid recent releases of classic films (see both Odd Man Out and Things to Come). Happily, I was not disappointed. The picture here is excellent, and surely the best it's looked since it's original release 85 years ago. Detail is excellent, and there are no signs of distracting damage. The biggest hole Blu-ray distributors usually fall into is using excessive DNR (noise reduction) to abolish film grain and give the image an unnatural look. The image is tinted, as it was originally, to show whether the scene is day or night, outside or inside. I'm relieved that there are no signs of aggressive DNR use here - film grain, though not overpowering, is easily detectable and more importantly, the film looks natural. Obviously this is still a very old film and so expectations should be adjusted slightly - this is not pin-sharp quality, but it is very, very impressive, and it's hard to imagine it looking any better.
Unlike some of the bigger-budget films of this period, The Lodger never had an official soundtrack written for it, meaning that over the years any old accompaniment was added to it. In 1999 a full orchestral soundtrack was composed by Ashley Irwin. That soundtrack is not to be found on this release, instead we get a new 2012 soundtrack by Nitin Sawhney. It's actually a very impressive track, recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, and it's evident that a lot of time and thought has gone into how to make it fully complement the film. There is one rather large negative with the soundtrack, and that is that in two places in the film (one where the lodger and Daisy fall for each other, and another just before the fast-paced climax begins) lyrics and singing chime in, and suddenly you feel like you're not watching a Hitchcock film anymore, but a rather dubious pop video. This is certainly more jarring in the first instance. Depending on how much of a silent film purist you are will dictate how much this upsets you, but for me it was certainly very distracting. I don't completely disagree with the idea, and it is an excellent soundtrack, but they really should have included the 1999 soundtrack here, even as an extra feature. Finally, the sound itself is stereo.
As far as extras go then, as well as the Blu-ray disc there is a 2-disc CD soundtrack by Nitin Sawhney and the London Symphony Orchestra, as well as a 19-minute interview with Sawhney himself. The final on-disc supplement is a HD image gallery with posters, production photographs etc. Last but not least, there's a 16-page booklet inside with details on the original novel as well as the production of the film itself.
A quick summary of the technical details for anyone interested: Region B locked, 1x BD-25 disc, 1080p 1:33.1 picture. No subtitles at all on the disc.