The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)
It’s about a series of murders committed by the neighborhood’s Jack the Ripper type killer called “the Avenger.” Seven golden-haired girls have already bit the dust and the culprit is still at large. Then, at the Bunting residence, a new tenant (Ivor Novello) arrives interested in their room for rent. He’s very reserved, pays in advance, and is oddly frightened by golden-haired lady pictures donning the walls. Then, after first glance of golden-haired daughter Daisy (June Tripp… though apparently her screen name is simply “June”), this duo are instantly attracted to one another. (There is no short supply of golden-haired chicks floating around, hence the periodic “To-night ‘Golden Curls'” memo – where, in fact, the blondies attempt to hide their golden locks for fear of being labeled as potential victims).
Daisy’s policeman beau Joe (Malcolm Keen) is assigned to the Avenger case and is definitely into Daisy’s new interest. One evening Mrs. Bunting (Marie Ault) catches the lodger sneaking out in the middle of the night and the next morning another dead golden-haired girl is discovered – around the corner from their home. Could the Avenger be the lodger? (he does have a name, by the way – Jonathan)
The Lodger is an excellent silent ranking in my top 3 early Hitchcocks. It’s suspensful and excellently sets an apprehensive mood. Our leading lady is an interesting character though at times a little much. The other actors are quite good, particularly Ivor Novello. The musical score (though better than Champagne) felt like the same three themes on repeat, but at least it was applicable. Where history is concerned, this is the true molding for the master’s future career as it is his earliest to have survived in its entirety. All in all a really great piece of work. 8/10