To celebrate me getting kicked out of my apartment by my neurotic man hating roommate/land lord, I'm writing about The Lodger. Which is close to my favorite Hitchcock film.

Though some folks are in denial, I think anyone with a bit of common sense can see that Hitchcock made better films in England than he did in America. The reason for this might not be because he was in England, but might be because he was more keen to break the rules when he was in England, which was largely in the beginning and the end of his career (which is part of the reason Psycho is so good, it was done "indie"). One of the things that is so amazing about The Lodger is that it shows a lot of the talent that Hitchcock was not using in his later films, particularly the talent for visual narratives and stylization.

I guess what both those things are shorthand for is that the film is amazingly visually compelling, which on the whole I don't think that Hitchcock films are (they are narratively compelling, and he's about the best person in the history of the world next to D.W. Griffith at telling a story with film... and he's a much more likable person than Griffith). The film centers on a extremely handsome man who "comes out of the London fog" looking for a room, the catch is that there is a mass murderer on the loose, and men who are that sexy must be slightly dangerous (or so the police inspector thinks, who's dating the daughter of the family the lodger stays with).

Ivor Novello is great, he has that brooding sexy look that really all men should have when its dark and foggy, and they are always accentuated well by pretty girls in one of those 20s skirts that occasionally make my heart skip a beat. What's really great in the film is the lighting, and just the overall atmosphere of the film. There are few of the chatty people that add that creepy light-heartedness of Hitchcock's sound films (I don't mean that in a bad way, I'm pretty sure Hitchcock meant the light-heartedness to be creepy, he often put his daughter in those roles). This film does all it can to accentuate the danger of the situation, and in doing-so accentuate the sexiness of the main character.

The film really isn't about murder at all, its a star vehicle, and because of that the true purpose of the film is to accentuate Novello's appeal. It uses the threat of a mass murderer to this end... because the consciousness of death always makes one strangely aware of the presence of beauty.

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