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Directed by John Brahm

USA 1944

 

The Lodger was the third film version of Mrs. Marie Belloc-Lowndes' classic "Jack the Ripper" novel, and in many eyes it was the best (even allowing for the excellence of the 1925 Alfred Hitchcock adaptation). Laird Cregar stars as the title character, a mysterious, secretive young man who rents a flat in the heart of London's Whitechapel district. The Lodger's arrival coincides with a series of brutal murders, in which the victims are all female stage performers. None of this fazes Kitty (Merle Oberon), the daughter of a "good family" who insists upon pursuing a singing and dancing career. Scotland Yard inspector John Warwick (George Sanders), in love with Kitty, worries about her safety and works day and night to solve the murders. All the while, Kitty draws inexorably closer to The Lodger, who seems to have some sort of vendetta on his mind?..Some slight anachronisms aside (for example, the villain falls off a bridge that hadn't yet been built at the time of the story), The Lodger is pulse-pounding entertainment, with a disturbingly brilliant performance by the late, great Laird Cregar.

***

One of the great evocations of that strange lost city of Hollywood imagination, the fogbound London of Jack the Ripper. It might almost be a continuation of Pandora's Box as a blind man haltingly taps his way through Whitechapel past posters announcing a reward for the Ripper's capture, a hulking figure prowls in the obscurity, a woman's screams are accompanied by animal panting while the camera stares blindly into a dark hole in the wall. Huge, feline, softly obscene as he builds his sonorous facade of biblical quotations and secretly rinses his bloody hands in the waters of the Thames, Laird Cregar gives a remarkable portrayal of perverted sexuality, at once horrific and oddly moving. Stunningly shot by Lucien Ballard, this is one of those rare films - like Casablanca - in which everything pulls together to create a weirdly compulsive atmosphere.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Releases: January 19th, 1944

DVD Reviews

Comparison:

 

20th Century Fox (3•disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

 

 

   

 

   

Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Time: 1:23:39 1:23:46.021
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,039,116,664 bytes

Feature: 17,335,652,352 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 23.94 Mbps

Bitrate:

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio English (original mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  NOTE: Undying Monster offers a Spanish DUB

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

The Lodger:
• Commentary by Film Historians Alain Silver & James Ursini
• Man in the Attic: The Making of The Lodger (15:37)
• Audio only - The Lodger Vintage Radio Show - Performed by Vincent Price (29:58)

Restoration Comparison

• Trailer

Advertising Gallery (click thru)
• Stills Gallery (click thru)


DVD Release Date: October 9th, 2007

3 Transparent Keep Cases inside a Slipcase cardboard box
Chapters: 16, 20, and 12

Release Information:
Studio: Kino
 

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,039,116,664 bytes

Feature: 17,335,652,352 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 23.94 Mbps

 

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary by Film Historian Gregory William Mank
• Audio Commentary by Film Historians Alain Silver and James Ursini
• The Man In The Attic: The Making of The Lodger Featurette (15:33)
• The Lodger Vintage Radio Show Performed by Vincent Price and Cathy Lewis (29:52)
• Restoration Comparison(16:17)

• Montage of Images (5:21)

Trailers The Lodger - 2:16, I Wake Up Screaming - 2:16, The Undying Monster - 1:05



Blu-ray Release Date: December 13th, 2016
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters:8

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray November 16': Kino's 2016 Blu-ray transfer is a not a gigantic leap for this well-crafted horror. The 1080P does improve over SD - notably looking thicker and more film-like. The Kino image is brighter, but, while not an overwhelming HD image - does advance over SD in the overall appearance. There are plenty of impressive shots with atmospheric lighting and some obtuse angles. There is a higher level of detail to some of the close-ups and, again, the 1080P visuals benefit.

The audio improvement is via a DTS-HD Master (16-bit) 2.0 channel. The score by Hugo Friedhofer's (Violent Saturday, Man in the Attic, Ace in the Hole, Body and Soul, Gilda) adds some great drama and tension via the lossless. The Kino does not offer subtitles and is region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.

The Kino offers the same, excellent, commentary, by film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini as well as a new one with Gregory William Mank author of many books including The Very Witching Time of Night: Dark Alleys of Classic Horror Cinema. The commentary includes some colorful stories from my upcoming book Hollywood Ripper: The Rise and Fall of Laird Cregar.  I recall his educational commentary on Chandu the Magician from the Fox Horror Classics Vol. 2 DVD set. Kino include the other supplements also found on the Fox Horror Classics Vol. 1 DVD package including The Man In The Attic: The Making of The Lodger featurette, the 1/2 hour The Lodger Vintage Radio Show performed by Vincent Price and Cathy Lewis, a restoration comparison and montage of Images. Kino include trailers for The Lodger , I Wake Up Screaming and The Undying Monster.

As Mank describes - 'The Lodger is widely considered the greatest Jack the Ripper film that Hollywood ever made and Laird Cregar is also considered the greatest of all cinema Rippers... Vintage film fans continue to appreciate seeing some of these great films in the best possible home theatre representation. The Lodger is very re-watchable. Recommended!

***

DVD REVIEW of the Boxset: The 3 feature films of this boxset are housed in slim individual transparent keep cases (see image above) and they are not sold separately at this time. I believe these particular editions can only be obtained in Fox's Fox Horror Classics package at present.

Each are coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard. The Undying Monster is single layered and The Lodger and Hangover Square are both on dual-layered discs. The transfers are progressive and in the original aspect ratios (1.33 for all). The audio is original English mono with a 2.0 channel stereo option and The Undying Monster has a Spanish DUB choice. There are optional English, French or Spanish subtitles.

Image quality: Fairly consistent although in descending quality for reverse chronological order with The Undying Monster , the oldest film, looking the best sporting sterling contrast and excellent detail, The Lodger also looking surprisingly strong and Hangover Square bringing up the rear in a slightly weak transfer with what appears to be some edge enhancement. At around 1 hour there is an awkward layer change and a light vertical scratch appears intermittently down the centre of the screen and a few frames of damage are noticeable. The audio also has a few lapses - like it is out of sync.  There is some minor digital noise in all three. There are no distracting damage marks excepting in one segment near the end of Hangover Square but it may have been the shadowy intent of the shot. I re-watched it over and over and couldn't tell. I think the captures below give a fair representation of how the DVD package looks. They are very watchable!

Audio volume was a bit quiet but I noted no significant dropout flaws or excessive background hiss (very minor now and again - unobtrusive). The audio is supported with optional English, Spanish or French subtitles.

 

Supplements, as per usual for Classic Fox releases - are excellent. Each disc has click-thru advertising galleries and stills galleries. The Lodger and The Undying Monster offer trailers and restoration comparisons. The Undying Monster has a 15 minute featurette called Concertos Macabre: The Films of John Brahm concentrating on the neglected director of every feature in this boxset. The Lodger has another excellent commentary by the film historians team of Alain Silver and James Ursini. Most have heard this pair working on notable Film Noirs and I feel quite comfortable listening to them share their encyclopedic knowledge of classic film which is always evident and they genuinely seem to enjoy their work (and each other). Also on The Lodger is a 15 minute featurette - Man in the Attic: The Making of The Lodger. It's a nice overview touching on some production details. The Lodger also offers an audio only segment - The Lodger Vintage Radio Show - performed by Vincent Price's recognizable voice. On Hangover Square there are two strong commentaries - a fairly lightweight -full of gaps - one with film historian/Screenwriter Steve Haberman and co-star Faye Marlowe but I preferred the professional Richard Schickel commentary - like Silver & Ursini - Schickel is a pleasure to listen to - the guy REALLY knows his stuff. Great to indulge in after the film - I strongly recommend it. We also have a 20 minute featurette - The Tragic Mask: The Laird Cregar Story and another half-hour audio only segment with Vincent Price. For the price - these extras are solid gold and the films are three fascinating gems. I found all three films here extremely enjoyable. This would be Feature DVD of the Month if the timing were better. I give it my strongest recommendation!

Gary W. Tooze




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20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

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Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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