Hitchcock’s 1927 Masterpiece “The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog”

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MURDER: WET FROM THE PRESS! MURDER: HOT OVER THE AERIAL!

Although it was director Alfred Hitchcock’s third movie, he considered The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) the first “Hitchcock film”. In this gorgeous nightmare of nail-biting suspense and luxurious cinematography, Hitch criticizes the media’s infatuation with beautiful blonde murder victims, all the while indulging his own obsession with them. “To-Night ‘Golden Curls,” is both the name of a Broadway show starring chorines in fluffy blonde wigs and what the Jack-the-Ripper inspired serial killer whispers to his fair-haired prey. The news of the nightly murders are spelled out in hot, glittering lights on electronic billboards as citizens clamor to buy the still wet newsprint.

Hitchcock gives his male lead Ivor Novello the Garbo treatment with softly lit close-ups; the lodger appears out of the fog, mouth bound by scarf, eyes kohl-rimmed and tortured. No blood here but plenty of style – and even a bathtub scene, this 1927 masterpiece foreshadowed the terrors to come from “The Master of Suspense”.

Heather Babcock, 2019

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