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The Lodger (1944)

Approved | | Crime, Horror, Mystery | 19 January 1944 (USA)
A landlady suspects her new lodger is Jack the Ripper.

Director:

John Brahm

Writers:

Barré Lyndon (screen play), Marie Belloc Lowndes (from the novel by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Merle Oberon ... Kitty Langley
George Sanders ... Inspector John Warwick
Laird Cregar ... Mr. Slade
Cedric Hardwicke ... Robert Bonting (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Sara Allgood ... Ellen Bonting
Aubrey Mather ... Superintendent Sutherland
Queenie Leonard ... Daisy - the Maid
Doris Lloyd ... Jennie
David Clyde ... Sergeant Bates
Helena Pickard Helena Pickard ... Annie Rowley / Katie in Opening Sequence
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Storyline

In late Victorian London, Jack the Ripper has been killing and maiming actresses in the night. The Burtons are forced to take in a lodger due to financial hardship. He seems like a nice young man, but Mrs. Burton suspects him of being the ripper because of some mysterious and suspicious habits, and fears for her beautiful actress niece who lives with them. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story of Jack the Ripper See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 January 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jack l'éventreur See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Merle Oberon fell in love with the film's cinematographer, Lucien Ballard, and they married the following year. Because of facial scars Oberon sustained in a car accident, Ballard developed a unique light for her that washed out any signs of her blemishes. The device is known to this day as the Obie (not to be confused with the Off-Broadway award). See more »

Goofs

Kitty Langley (Merle Oberon) speaks with an upper class British accent, but sings (dubbed) with an artificial French accent. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Old Cockney Man: [reading poster] "Murders being committed in our midst. Police inadequate. We intend offering a substantial reward to anyone, citizen or otherwise, who shall give information bringing the murderer or murderers to justice." Hmm.
See more »

Connections

Version of Armchair Mystery Theatre: The Lodger (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Tink-A-Tin!
(1891) (uncredited)
Music by John Crook
Lyrics by Albert Chevalier
Sung by Merle Oberon (probably dubbed) and danced by her and chorus girls at a theater
Reprised later a cappella by Doris Lloyd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Mania, Murder & Melodrama
9 June 2001 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

With all England horrified by the fiendish exploits of Jack the Ripper, a London family slowly becomes concerned by the strange habits of THE LODGER who has rented rooms upstairs...

Atmospheric & creepy, this is one of the great suspense films. Based on the celebrated 1913 horror novel of Marie Belloc Lowndes, the movie memorably captures the panic & paranoia which reigned in London during the Ripper crimes. Using the full palette of shades available to black & white cinematography, the movie creates a chilling, eerie, atmosphere in which one can walk Whitechapel's narrow streets with the murderer.

Laird Cregar mesmerizes in the title role, his great, strange eyes following the viewer like those in the portraits he detests. He is the very picture of obsession & madness. Although lovely Merle Oberon & stalwart George Sanders do very well as the romantic leads, it is Cregar, his tremendous bulk moving silently through the shadows, who will remain in viewers' imaginations.

As the landlords, Sara Allgood & Sir Cedric Hardwicke are exceptional, portraying basically quiet people who come to the alarming conclusion that all is not right in their household. A solid group of character actors - Queenie Leonard, Helena Pickard, Anita Sharp-Bolster, Lumsden Hare - also give vivid performances. Movie mavens will recognize uncredited turns by Billy Bevan as a bartender and, behind the mustache, little Charlie Hall, veteran of many a Laurel & Hardy comedy, as the music hall comedian whose song is interrupted by the Ripper's last attack.

Special mention should be made of British Doris Lloyd (1896-1968), an excellent actress usually seen only in tiny bit roles, often uncredited. Here, unforgettably, she gets to deliver a short, sharp lesson in utter terror as the last of the Ripper's victims. Arriving in Hollywood during the Silent Era, Miss Lloyd would continue to grace small movie moments for decades to come.

Laird Cregar is one of the great What Ifs? of American cinema. Arising out of obscurity, this young actor quickly showed a remarkable talent and was quite soon given featured & starring roles, of which THE LODGER is the most memorable. Alas, his star was to blink out as fast as it rose. Wishing to move into leading & romantic parts, he subjected his 300-pound frame to an extreme crash diet. His body responded with a massive heart attack, killing him only a few months after THE LODGER's release. He was 28 years old.

The film gives a somewhat fictionalized account of the depredations of Jack the Ripper, his identity & the true names of his victims being the most obvious changes. From August 7th to November 10th, 1888, a killer who would become known as Jack the Ripper horrifically butchered seven prostitutes in London's East End, committing acts of such barbaric savagery on the bodies as to be positively bestial. He was never caught, despite a huge public outcry and tremendous efforts from Scotland Yard. In the intervening years there have been numerous suggestive solutions to his identity put forward, some quite fanciful, but no proofs have ever been posited. Jack took his terrible secrets with him to the grave.


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