The Lodger (1944)

Article #1413 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-26-2005
Posting Date: 6-25-2005
Directed by John Brahm
Featuring Laird Cregar, George Sanders, Merle Oberon

An elderly couple take on a lodger who they suspect may be Jack the Ripper.

Despite the fact that the silent version of this movie is from Alfred Hitchcock, this is my favorite take on this tale. Plotwise, it departs from the original movie (especially towards the end), but this is a good thing in this case, because it gives us the full measure of Laird Cregar’s performance of the disturbed lodger, Slade. In fact, the movie is filled with good performances from everyone. Sir Cedric Hardwicke is more animated than usual as the eccentric elderly man, and he plays off very well with Sara Allgood. George Sanders does an fine job as a Scotland Yard detective; he really isn’t given a lot to do, but he makes good use of what he is given, and he nails his best line (the one about the murderer who killed a woman who “wouldn’t answer a direct question”). However, it’s Cregar who is unforgettable here. It would have been a career-making performance had he wanted to play psychos; unfortunately, his desperate attempts to remake himself as a romantic lead caused him to embark on a dieting regimen that would cost him his life. This would be his second to last movie, though his follow-up to this one with the same director John Brahm (HANGOVER SQUARE) is equally good.


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