The Lodger A Story of the London Fog (1926)

A strange lodger may be a serial killer in Alfred Hitchcock’s first suspense thriller.
“Hitchcock’s trick is to make a moody expressionist film in a specifically English context” Geoffrey Macnab, Sight & Sound, December 1999 “It is possible that this film is the finest British production ever made”. So claimed the review in the trade journal Bioscope of Hitchcock’s first thriller. A serial killer is terrorising fog-shrouded London, and a mysterious lodger soon becomes a suspect. As with Cary Grant in Suspicion (1941), Alfred Hitchcock cannily cast matinee idol Ivor Novello in the title role and challenged his audience to think the worst of him. Visually, it was extraordinarily imaginative for the time, most notably in the scene in which Hitchcock installed a glass floor so that he could show the lodger pacing up and down in his room from below, as though overheard by his landlady. Tellingly, the killer’s victims have ‘golden curls’, a predilection mirrored by the director’s often troubling relationship with his beautiful blonde leading ladies later in his career. As seen in Stage Fright (1949), The Wrong Man (1956), Frenzy (1972) and many others, innocent – and sometimes guilty – men under suspicion would be a popular motif in Hitchcock’s work.
1926 United Kingdom
Directed by
Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by
Michael Balcon, Carlyle Blackwell
Written by
Eliot Stannard, Alfred Hitchcock
Marie Ault, Arthur Chesney, Miss June
Running time
98 minutes