The Lodger

  • 1944
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Thriller

Cregar is absolutely chilling in this Jack the Ripper tale, perhaps the best film made about Bloody Jack. THE LODGER's re-creation of Victorian London is soaked with fog, with cobblestones sweating and gaslights flickering as blood-chilling screams pierce the night air and a dark figure goes running. Oberon is a beautiful singer whose parents, Allgood and...read more

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Cregar is absolutely chilling in this Jack the Ripper tale, perhaps the best film made about Bloody Jack. THE LODGER's re-creation of Victorian London is soaked with fog, with cobblestones sweating and gaslights flickering as blood-chilling screams pierce the night air and a dark figure

goes running. Oberon is a beautiful singer whose parents, Allgood and Hardwicke, rent a room to Cregar. The mysterious lodger tells them he won't be joining them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, because he works at night. During the night, Cregar slips out into the fog carrying a little black bag;

in the early hours, he can be heard pacing back and forth in his rooms--which are always kept locked, and where he performs what he terms "experiments." Cregar eyes Oberon and fences with her friend Sanders, a Scotland Yard inspector developing new criminology techniques, but, in the end, he

cannot resist killing the lovely Oberon, as he has killed so many others. Before he can murder her, however, the police and Sanders interrupt the attack and chase Cregar wildly through a theater. Trapped like a bear, salivating and maniacal, Cregar hurls himself through a huge window and into the

Thames to drown rather than surrender.

This ending is not in keeping with that of the film's source material, the superlative novel written by Marie Belloc Lowndes. In addition, THE LODGER, unlike the novel, leaves no doubt that Cregar's character is Jack the Ripper. The huge actor is superb in this grand film noir; he and Sanders

would almost repeat their parts in the similar HANGOVER SQUARE, also directed by John Brahm. (Only 28 at the time, Cregar longed to be a matinee idol and, shortly after the release of this film, went on a crash water diet and literally starved himself to death.) THE LODGER remakes the Alfred

Hitchcock silent film starring Ivor Novello, and is probably better. Brahm's directs with a taut rein, the script is brilliant, the photography by Lucien Ballard (Oberon's husband-to-be) is a marvel of fluid action, and the whole is mightily enhanced by Hugo Friedhofer's strange and unnerving

score.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Cregar is absolutely chilling in this Jack the Ripper tale, perhaps the best film made about Bloody Jack. THE LODGER's re-creation of Victorian London is soaked with fog, with cobblestones sweating and gaslights flickering as blood-chilling screams pierce… (more)

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