The Lodger

  • Sarah Street


The Lodger, a British silent film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was produced in 1926 and released in 1927. It starred Ivor Novello as a mysterious young man who lodges in a London home at a time when a number of blonde-haired young women have been murdered in the city. It was one of the most significant British films of the decade, praised by critics who in particular appreciated Hitchcock’s importation of German techniques which were used to create suspense and atmosphere. The Lodger was released when the British film industry was struggling to survive, and it represented a sophisticated response to the problem of producing distinctive film drama at a time when the market was more or less dominated by Hollywood’s films. Hitchcock’s adaptation of a popular story, based on the Jack the Ripper murders, can be linked to contemporary fears of, and ambivalence about, modernity and city life, and is distinctively British in its settings. As this chapter will also argue, it raises questions of gender identity which featured in many German films of this period (Petro, 1989).


Sexual Ambivalence Silent Cinema Acting Style American Film Hollywood Cinema 


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  1. Gledhill, Christine 1999: ‘Taking it Forward: Theatricality and British Cinema Style in the 1920s’. In Linda Fitzsimmons and Sarah Street (eds), Moving Performance: Theatre and Early Cinema in Britain. Wiltshire: Flicks Books.Google Scholar
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  3. Petro, Patrice 1989: Joyless Streets: Women and Melodramatic Representation in Weimar Germany. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
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  6. Street, Sarah 1997: British National Cinema. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Suggestions for Further Reading

  1. Barr, Charles 1997: ‘Before Blackmail: Silent British Cinema’. In Robert Murphy (ed.), The British Cinema Book. London: British Film Institute.Google Scholar
  2. Barr, Charles 1999: English Hitchcock. London: Cameron & Hollis.Google Scholar
  3. Higson, Andrew 1993: Waving the Flag: Constructing a National Cinema in Britain. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  4. Low, Rachel 1971: The History of the British Film, 1918–1929. London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sarah Street 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Street

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