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The Lodger Criterion Blu-ray Review

Lodger

“The Lodger” is a solid early Hitchcock film.

Loosely based on Jack the Ripper, “The Lodger” is an early silent by Alfred Hitchcock that the director considers his first real film so to speak. The story is set amidst a time where a killer known as the Avenger is preying upon women in foggy London. The story itself revolves around the Bunting family (more specifically a model named Daisy) and the new lodger that has taken up residence in their room for rent. Right off the bat, the lodger is acting strange leading others to be suspicious of him. Is he the killer at large or is he not who he seems? Those are the big questions. The film also contains a sort of love triangle as Joe (a detective) has a crush on Daisy while the lodger also has feelings for Daisy as well.

Fans of Hitchcock will immediately notice that “The Lodger” contains a lot of his trademarks including artistic shots and angles, a primary story about his distrust of authority, and a good old fake-out. Indeed, the film acts as a sort of birth of the Hitchcock that we come to know and love later on and, in that regard, it is fascinating to watch. Watching “The Lodger” is like watching Hitchcock’s origin story so to speak. That may sound like film nerd speak and perhaps it is, but it’s the most curious thing about this movie.

Of course, the story itself is engaging enough on its own. Sure, it’s a bit simplistic, but so what? I’ll take a Hitchcock movie over many, many other films any day of the week.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.33:1. How does it look? The tinted B&W film has received a stunning 2k digital restoration. Yes, there are the usual scratches and dirt that come along with silent film prints, but the level of clarity here is breathtaking.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Stereo. How does it sound? The score is unsurprisingly crisp.

Extras:

* “The Lodger” supposedly comes with a booklet, but mine did not for some strange reason. * A half hour 1940 “The Lodger” radio drama directed by Hitchcock himself. I’m always a sucker for radio dramas. A great forgotten art form. * An audio interview between Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut with Helen G. Scott translating. The discussion largely revolves around “The Lodger.” * 2 audio interviews between Hitchcock and Peter Bogdanovich. Much more intriguing interviews here as discussions range from Hitchcock being in jail briefly as a child, fear of authority, directing, his film work, his childhood, etc. * A 23 minute interview with Neil Brand who composed the new score for “The Lodger” for this release. * “The Bunting House”- A nearly 18 minute video essay by art historian Steven Jacobs who talks about the look of the film (including the house set). * An interview with film historian William Rothman who talks about 20’s cinema, “The Lodger” and its themes, Hitchcock, etc. * “Downhill”- The best extra here is another silent Hitchcock film! The film revolves around two best friends (Tim and Roddy) who are at a boarding school school together. Roddy (a model student) finds his life spiraling out of control after he takes the blame for something Tim has done. “Downhill” was new to me having not seen it before and I can see why it’s not mentioned very much. Not only is it very dated content and storywise, but it’s also a bit unintentionally comedic at how over-the-top it is. Sure, it’s meant to be a cautionary tale, but it’s overdone to say the least.

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July 1, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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