THE LODGER (1944) B/W 84m dir: John Brahm

w/Merle Oberon, George Sanders, Laird Cregar, Cedric Hardwicke, Sara Allgood, Aubrey Mather, Queenie Leonard, David Clyde, Helena Pickard, Lumsden Hare

From The Movie Guide: "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 ....

"[THE LODGER's] 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 directs with a taut rein, the script [by Barre Lyndon] is brilliant, the photography by Lucein 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."