t's a sequel to that chilling thriller, the Fiendish Phantom:


If you know your movies, you know the source material. "The Lodger" was made over and over again - radio plays, stories, movies. It's the Jack the Ripper story, more or less, reinterpreteted anew every ten years. (In the 40s it was redone with the great Laird Cregar.) If you're looking for Saucy Jack, complete with flashing knives and gaslit Whitechapel and cryptic notes about being down on hoors and shan't stop fiending them til I do get buckled, etc., well, no. But it does begin with some inadvertent documenetary:

 

 

Wonder where in London that might be. The newsboy is hawking papers about the Avenger, and everyone's on edge. Except of course people who are letting rooms to strangers; they have no problem letting anyone come through the door.

Why hello Mister Ghostly-Pale with the strange accent; do come in!

 

 

If it's a Lodger picture, then that's the Avenger. The Phantom Fiend Avenger Lodger. Not to say he avenges phantom fiends - no. The Avenger has a problem with women. Blondes. They offend his religious sensibilities, and make him go all slashy. This Lodger, though, doesn't seem to have the usual problem with women - in fact he strikes up a nice friendship with Daisy, the landlord couple's daughter. A right fair bit of crumpet:

 

 

Very English, isn't she? She's fascinated by the Lodger, and dumps her old newspaper-writer boyfriend so she can sit in his room and listen to him play the piano. She should have been more cautious, though. Surely she's seen him before, right? In another movie somewhere?

 

 

Why yes. He played the Lodger in a silent movie version of the story. That's right: he was in the famous Hitchcock version, which is must more stylish and atmospheric. Don't want to spoil anything if you wish to see it - most of it's a dead bore except for the last 20 minutes, when it turns into a film far better than you expected with an actual twist ending. I like this:

 

 

 

Take note: this is how you make it seem like a city is gripped with a news story. Print up a big newspaper ad and shoot it from below, so it seems to loom over the very city itself.

Hitch did it better, as I said. I think this fellow might have . . . religious problems:

 

 

But it didn't ruin his career. You've probably never heard of him. Well, right now someone's hoping they win the award named after him. That's fame.