Saturday, April 9, 2011

THE LODGER - Friedhofer / Bellwood / Herbert / Crook / Chevalier - "There's Been Another Ripper Murder" (1944)

Whenever our pal Greg Goodsell gives us a tip, we try and pay attention, and tonight's shocking feature entitled "The Lodger" is the direct result! The main soundtrack music was written by Hugo Friedhofer who was up to his elbows in music of some form in everything from "Casablanca" to "Jungle Moon Men" and so much more!! He won an Oscar in 1947 for "The Best Years Of Our Lives!" See kids, playing the cello can pay off!!

Gawd, what a great movie! It's a Victorian London scene and everybody's having a good time except it's a fact that Jack The Ripper is on the prowl, so the local Constabulary is on double extra alert! The drunken louts outside The Weavers Arms are singing a tune called "What Cher 'Ria" written by Bessie Bellwood and Will Herbert in 1885! I like the fact that it's not only a Saloon, it's also a Bar!!

There's been yet another murder, and Hey Kid, shouldn't you be home in bed?

The not even half-assed subtle 6' 3" Laird Cregar as Mr. Slade comes onto the scene looking for a place to live temporarily, a lodger as it were! Laird Cregar was a massive talent that would never have a chance to peak because he only lived to be 31 years of age. They say he went on a crash diet that took him from 300 to 200 pounds and that his heart would just not accept the challenge!

Sara Allgood as the rather wealthy but down on hard times Ellen Bonting shows Mr. Slade the room that she and her husband are willing to allow him to rent! There are a lot of shots from down low that make Laird look even larger than he already was! Sara was Mrs. Higgins in the 1941 version of "Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde," and Mrs. Midget in the 1944 flick, "Between Two Worlds."

The fabulous Merle Oberon is the Bonting's niece, Kitty Langley, and she is quite the distinguished performer as you can see from the advertisement!

The song that Merle and the girls are performing is called "Tink-A-Tin" and was written by John Crook and Albert Chevalier back in good ole 1891, and you gotta love those outfits!

Since Jack The Ripper has a penchant for showgirls and prostitutes, backstage after Merle's act, George Sanders as police Inspector John Warwick has some questions that need to be answered! It's not often that you can see outrageous muttonchops and headgear all in the same shot! "The Lodger" has got it all!!

Inspector Warwick shows Kitty some of the features of the police's own little horror museum, meat cleaver and all!

There's been another Ripper murder! Is this a great shot or what?

The stunningly beautiful Kitty is also staying with her aunt and uncle, so now with Mr. Slade there too, they've really got a full house! She hears some odd noises and then sees some smoke coming from somewhere!

As he burns bloodied garments, Mr. Slade explains to Kitty that he is a pathologist, and sometimes performs strange experiments, and everybody but the viewer falls for all his bullshit, that's the amazing thing! Sure, Mrs. Bonting was getting suspicious by his werid nocturnal adventures, but her husband and Kitty always just seem to think she's overreacting despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary!

Geoge Sanders keeps on uselessly looking for clues!

Kitty and the gals have a new song and dance routine to debut called "The Parisian Trot," and it's just about as much as Mr. Slade can take!! "The Parisian Trot" was written by Lionel Newman and Charles Henderson!

Still not even having a clue, Kitty had invited Mr. Slade to the show to see her new act, and all that skin is going to push him way over the edge! I need to go back and count how many movies we've written about that had Can-Can dance numbers in them, it's got to be close to 100!

It should come as no shock that Kitty's going to have a very expected unexpected visitor!

There's really no weird twists or turns or mystery to the story at all! You know who the killer is from the first second you see him, but that's not really the point, since you know what's going to happen, the fun is just watching the story unravel!

You know I'm a sucker for a classic spiral stairwell that looks like the inside of a conch shell!

The authorities are especially clueless and ineffective the whole way!

I don't usually like giving away endings, but since you know what's going to happen anyway, it doesn't matter this time! Good night Mr. Slade!! Sweet dreams!

Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain only made it to 27 years of age, Laird Cregar was 28 when this film was made. Hard to believe he only got third billing! God willing, and the creek don't rise, one of these days, we'll get around to another Cregar classic, "Hangover Square!"


prof. grewbeard said...

ben meaning to check out ol' Laird for a long time, maybe Netflix has this...

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Yeah, I spose I should always add that info, "The Lodger" and "Hangover Square" are both available on Netflix!

maria said...

nice post nice blog

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...


Christopher said...

LOL-"The Parisian Trot," and it's just about as much as Mr. Slade can take!!
I have this one in the Fox Horror Classics box set with The Undying Monster and Hangover Square..I like this ,but i like Hangover Square just a little bit better..

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Nice set!!!

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