THE LODGER: A STORY OF THE LONDON FOG (1927)

(Criterion/HBO MAX/YouTube/VOD)? Hitchcock is arguably the progenitor of modern genre film, which I suppose is why no one thinks of him as a silent filmmaker, but he directed handfuls of silent films before his first sound film, BLACKMAIL, and THE LODGER is one of his most remarkable early achievements.

While THE LODGER lacks the sophisticated visual scene construction Hitchcock would become known for, it does feature a number of his other signature attributes: an infatuation with blondes, startling visual motifs (his focus on the lodger’s right hand, for instance) and sexual tension buoyed by a sense of danger. It also plays with color tinting, has an astounding use of graphic design, and the interstitials are uniquely gorgeous with their use of fonts and background visual elements.

As a mystery, THE LODGER is a bit lackluster, but Hitchcock’s command of cinematic language far makes up for it, and showcases how ahead of his time he was.

As usual, I’ve included a trailer below, but please don’t let it fool you: the restored BFI print that Criterion and HBO MAX have is thrillingly vibrant. There’s also a link to a YouTube copy of the film below and, while it’s more pristine than the trailer, it lacks the tinting of the restored print.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJnoaTzJdLs

Full film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_grf3UHuak