23 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Where’s Hitch? : Inside “The Lodger” and the Alfred Hitchcock Cameo

This Sunday, October 26, Ben Model will return to introduce our audiences to another classic silent film. This weekend’s masterpiece is a story of true suspense and horror, just in time for Halloween. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger, is the story of a landlady who takes in a new tenant, who may or may not, be the mad man who has been stalking and murdering young blondes at night. While, The Lodger certainly was not the first feature directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, it is often regarded as the director’s first thriller and the film that introduced audiences to his iconic style. The film displays all of his most famous elements from his anti-hero to his icy blondes to expert mixing of humor and suspense. It was even ranked the number 15 best Hitchcock film of all time (out of 52 films) by Timeout Magazine.

Original lobby card for "The Lodger" (1927)

Original lobby card for “The Lodger” (1927)

The Lodger is also the first film to use another one of Hitchcock’s signature elements, the director’s cameo. As most fans of Hitchcock’s films know, the famous director can be found in just about all of his movies, usually somewhere in the first act, so as not to take away from the film’s suspense. The famous signature came about in this film, quite by accident. The 26-year old director realized that he didn’t have enough extras in one of his scenes. Rather than hire more and add to the costly budget of the film, Hitchcock stepped into the role himself. Hitchcock can be found in the film twice; once, sitting at a desk with his back to the camera and again, later in the film, as part of an angry mob.

Hitchcock’s cameos would become all the more clever and humorous throughout the years. In some films, the director had to become quite clever about how to add himself in. In Lifeboat (1944), the film was set entirely on a lifeboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Hitchcock certainly couldn’t float by in the water. Instead, he placed his likeness on a weight-loss advertisement on a newspaper being read by one of the passengers. In Rope (1948), the action never leaves the apartment of its two anti-heroes, Hitchcock had a neon sign made of his profile to be hung on one of the buildings just outside the window. The cameos ran the gamut from humorously conspicuous to annoyingly discreet, but they remain constant fun for the devoted Hitchcock aficionado. Below, I have posted a youtube video (compiled by someone else) of all the Hitchcock cameos in his movies. Enjoy, then book your tickets for this Sunday’s screening of The Lodger, and see the movie that started it all, complete with accompaniment by Ben Model.

See you at the Schimmel!

Michael Scott-Torbet

Schimmel Blogger

ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S “THE LODGER: A STORY OF THE LONDON FOG”; Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model; Starring Ivor Novello, with June TrippMalcolm Keen and Marie Ault; Directed by Alfred Hitchcock; Released February 1927 by Gainsborough Pictures; Sunday, October 26th at 2:00pm; Ticket Prices
Adults $12 | Students $8; Call (212)346-1715 or visit web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/938389 

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