The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
Independent Films, Film Profiles
The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (often just called The Lodger) is a 1927 silent film directed by Alfred Hitchcock It concerns the hunt for a "Jack the Ripper" type serial killer in London. The wrong man is accused of the crime and is forced to try to prove his innocence.Hitchcock once told François Truffaut that he considered this his first film, although it was the third film directed by Hitchcock.Hitchcock's assistant director Alma Reville, would become his wife a few months before the film was released.The film begins with police detectives interviewing a hysterical woman who was an eyewitness to the seventh murder committed by the Avenger. "Tall he was—and his face all wrapped up". The news spreads like wildfire through London.That night, Daisy Bunting, a blonde model, is at a fashion parade where she and the other showgirls heard the news of the murder. The blonde girls are horrified; covering their hair with dark wigs or hats while Daisy laughs at their fears. She returns home to her parents, Mr and Mrs Bunting, and her policeman sweetheart, Joe, who have been reading the details of the latest Avenger crime in the day's paper.Later that same night a new tenant arrives at the house of Mr and Mrs Bunting and inquires about the room they are renting. Mrs Bunting takes him to the room on the top floor of her house which is decorated with portraits of beautiful young women, all blondes. The man is rather reclusive and secretive, which puzzles Mrs Bunting. However she does not complain after he willingly pays her a month's rent in advance, and asks only for bread, butter, and a glass of milk and to be left in peace.Mrs Bunting leaves her new tenant and tells her husband the good news, showing him the small fortune she has been paid. Upon returning with the lodger's meal, she is surprised to find him turning all the portraits of the women around to face the wall, and he politely requests that they be removed. Mrs Bunting enlists Daisy to remove the portraits, and upon first sight an attraction begins to form between Daisy and the lodger. The women bid him goodnight and return downstairs, where they hear the lodger's heavy footsteps as he paces the floor.Over the course of the following week, the relationship between Daisy and the reclusive lodger gradually heats up, and Joe, newly assigned to the Avenger case, begins to resent the closeness developing between them. The following Tuesday, Mrs Bunting is awoken late in the night by the lodger leaving the house. She is suspicious and searches his room in his absence, finding a cupboard that has been locked tight. In the morning, another blond is found dead just around the corner from their house.Joe and his fellow policemen, after weighing the latest clues, observe that the murders are moving towards the Bunting's neighborhood. Meanwhile, Mrs Bunting voices her fears to her husband that the lodger is the Avenger, and the two become fearful for Daisy's safety, agreeing to prevent her from spending further time alone with the stranger. Daisy remains oblivious to any danger, and the next Tuesday night, she and the lodger manages to sneak away on a late night date. Joe tracks them down, and confronting them, is told by Daisy that it's over between them. The heartbroken Joe is left to ponder his fortunes while the lodger and Daisy head home. As Joe sits, he begins to piece the events of the previous weeks together and convinces himself that the lodger is indeed the murdering Avenger.With a warrant in hand and two fellow officers in tow, Joe returns to search the lodger's room. In the locked cupboard they find a leather bag containing a gun, a map plotting the location of the Avenger's murders, newspapers and a photograph of an attractive blonde woman. Taking the lodger's emotional reaction as an admission of guilt, Joe surmises this woman was the Avenger's first victim. The lodger is arrested despite Daisy's protests, but manages to escape and runs off into the night. Daisy follows and finds him, still handcuffed, coatless and shivering in the fog. He explains that the photograph found in his room was his sister, a beautiful debutante who was murdered by the Avenger at a dance she had attended with her brother. He then vowed to his mother on her deathbed he would not rest until he had brought the killer to justice.Daisy brings the lodger to a nearby pub to give him brandy to warm him, hiding his handcuffs with a cloak. The locals, suspicious of the pair, pursue them, quickly gathering numbers until they are a veritable lynch mob. The lodger is surrounded and beaten, while Daisy and Joe, who has just heard the news from headquarters that the real Avenger has been caught, try in vain to defend him. When all looks lost, a paperboy interrupts with the news that the real Avenger has been arrested. The mob releases the lodger who falls into Daisy's waiting arms.Alfred Hitchcock cameo: Alfred Hitchcock appears sitting at a desk in the newsroom with his back to the camera (3 minutes into the film). This is Alfred Hitchcock's first recognizable film cameo and was to become a standard practice for the remainder of his films.
Year of Production: 1927
Length: 75 min.
Country: United States
- Alfred Hitchcock
- Michael Balcon, Carlyle Blackwell
- Marie Ault, Arthur Chesney, June, Malcolm Keen, Ivor Novello