The Lodger (1927)
With Organ Accompaniment
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring Ivor Novello
Organ Accompaniment by Donald MacKenzie, resident organist at the Odeon Leicester Square
Friday 14th October 2016, 8.00pm (doors open 7.00pm)
Film Running time: 91 minutes
At St John's Notting Hill, London, W11 2NN
This early Alfred Hitchcock film will be accompanied by the evocative music of the restored organ, played by Donald MacKenzie, resident organist at the Odeon, Leicester Square.
Donald is returning to St John's Notting Hill after playing at five previous shows:
The Cameraman in May 2016
The Wind in October 2015
Steamboat Bill Jr in May 2015
Wings in November 2014
The Hunchback of Notre Dame in October 2013.
Advanced booking is highly recommended, as all previous silent film screenings have sold out in advance. Don't miss this special event.
Doors open at 7.00pm for an 8.00pm film start.
Film running time: 91 minutes
Age rating: PG
There will be popcorn and a bar available, with the church candlelit. Seating is unreserved - good sight lines are available throughout the church. Despite being heated, the church may be cold in October, so please wear warm clothing.
The Lodger is number 3 on The Guardian's 'Top 10 Silent Movies':
With a 5-star review in The Guardian here:
And a 5-star review in The Times here ('Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous'):
The Lodger has an IMDB rating of 7.3 out of 10:
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 95% Fresh:
Whilst a serial killer known as 'The Avenger' is murdering blonde women in the foggy streets of night-time London, a mysterious man arrives at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting looking for a room to rent...
The following review is taken from The Guardian: 'My Favourite Hitchcock: The Lodger' by Andrew Pulver.
The Lodger, the silent film that Hitchcock directed in 1927, is generally acknowledged to be the one where he properly found his "voice": that distinctive combination of death and fetishism, trick shots and music-hall humour, intense menace and elegant camerawork that assured his place among cinema's giants. Hitchcock would go on to make more polished films, scarier films, more suspenseful films, better-acted films, funnier films and weirder films. But none, I think, as simply extraordinary.
The material, drawn from a novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes (sister of Hilaire), is rather obviously inspired by the Jack the Ripper murders; they were still within living memory. Hitchcock himself claimed later that producing studio Gainsborough (including Michael Balcon) ordered him to remove any ambiguity that the central character, the mysterious room-renter of the title, might be guilty of the crimes himself, instead of simply the innocent victim of false suspicion.
Of the film's many beauties, the long-form title is the first. "A Story of the London Fog" not only situates the film in a smoky, sensuous atmosphere (as well as immediately suggesting its visual counterpart), but summons up immediately the opaque moral compass at the heart of the plot. This is a story of betrayal, obsession and persecution, all triggered by the arrival of the extraordinary figure of Ivor Novello at an anonymous boarding house in some London backstreet.
As Matthew Sweet adumbrates at some length in Shepperton Babylon, his superb book about early British cinema, Novello's achievements as a screen actor have been considerably downplayed over the years in favour of his music and theatre activities. A master of what we might call queer sublimation, Novello, in Sweet's words, was "racked by hidden desires, secret passions". Resembling David Bowie in his Just a Gigolo era (a conscious imitation?), Novello exuded an ambiguous, heavy-lidded appeal that was not lost even on critics of the day. The Lodger was perhaps not his archetypal role – that was probably The Rat – but it is still the most widely seen of Novello's cinema output and is arguably the film most likely to restore him to his rightful place in the pantheon.
Hitchcock harnessed Novello's quivering stare masterfully, throwing a shadowy cross on his face on almost our first sight of him. It's perhaps a little obvious, even for 1927, but Hitchcock wasn't afraid of expressiveness: the celebrated overhead-pacing scene, shot through a glass floor; the shadows on the wall as the landlady listens nervously to her tenant; the footprints that yield visions of "deduction"; the macabre "Golden Curls" marquee gag at the start; they all show Hitchcock determined to rise above the filmed-theatre style of much silent cinema by enthusiastically marshalling the medium's visual power. And in a barely noticeable camera-move, Hitchcock uses a push-in track at moments of high emotion: a definite pointer to the way cinema would evolve. (I wouldn't know if Hitchcock was the first to use the device, but it's a distinctly modern technique that is of a different order to the expressionist-influenced trick shots that otherwise litter the film.)
Still in his 20s, Hitchcock apparently found the experience something of a trial; mostly because of constant undermining by his one time mentor Graham "Cocaine" Cutts, who had directed Novello in The Rat and was clearly threatened by his former assistant and art director. Cutts's complaining persuaded the studio to shelve the completed film and foist a rewrite man on Hitchcock, though little, apparently, was changed by the time The Lodger was finally released.
Be that as it may, it's not necessary to know or care about any of this. Come to the film with an open mind, and be amazed by all the early-cinema roughness that Hitchcock would spend his career successfully smoothing away. The Lodger is a jolting mess of a film, but one that remains electrifying. Not simply because it anticipates some of the director's best known tropes – we'll see vertigo-inducing stairwells later in his career, as well as women rummaging through a potential killer's belongings while they are out – but because this is a kind of cinema that has been refined out of existence, not least by Hitchcock himself.
Above review taken from:
Marie Ault: The Landlady (Mrs Bunting)
Arthur Chesney: Her Husband (Mr Bunting)
June Tripp: Daisy Bunting (Their Daughter)
Malcolm Keen: Joe (A Police Detective)
Ivor Novello: The Lodger
C. M. Woolf
The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes
Gaetano di Ventimiglia
Woolf & Freedman Film Service (UK)
February 1927 (UK)
In July 1992 Donald began his long association with the Odeon Leicester Square Compton organ, by playing it for a number of events including a preview of 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Chaplin'. In November 1993 he was engaged to play the organ for 5 weeks before each performance of the film, 'Aladdin'. He was then appointed House Organist and has appeared regularly at film premières, special events and organ concerts. He has broadcast from the Odeon on BBC Radios 2, 3, 4 and the World Service. He has been featured on a number of television programmes and Donald has played for numerous Royal Film Performances, including four in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.
Donald accompanied his first film when he was 14 for a special evening screening at Paisley Town Hall. He has now more than twenty feature films 'under his fingers' including the major classics of the silent screen - The Phantom of the Opera, Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, King of Kings, Carmen, The Black Pirate, Metropolis - as well as many different types of short silent films. His now renowned accompaniments have led to numerous bookings throughout the UK (including the Victoria Hall Hanley, Bournemouth Pavilion, in at Wolverhampton City Hall and the Lighthouse Media Centre, in London at the Odeon Leicester Square, Alexandra Palace and St Martin in the Fields, Somerton Arts Festival, in Tywyn at the Neu Pendre Hall), Ireland (in Belfast at St Annes Cathedral and Clonard Monastery), Germany (Weikersheim), USA (Boston University, Rivieria Theatre in Tonawanda), Holland (Scheidam Theatre) and most recently Poland. One of his most treasured memories was playing for the film 'Nosferatu' at the Usher Hall Edinburgh in October 2005 to a very enthusiastic full house. In December 2005 Donald appeared at the Odeon on an ITV programme, demonstrating the art of silent film accompaniment.