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Few film directors have mastered the art of suspense, thrills and intriguing plot twists the way that John Brahm (The Undying Monster) did - many consider his 1944 remake of the Alfred Hitchcock silent film about Jack the Ripper to be far superior to the original! After a mysterious young man named Slade (Laird Cregar, I Wake Up Screaming) rents a London flat, a murder spree begins nearby and the landlady suspects her new lodger to be Jack the Ripper. Kitty (Merle Oberon, Wuthering Heights), a talented singer ignores warnings about the crimes from her new love interest, Inspector John Warwick (George Sanders, Hangover Square) who s assigned to the case - or the man who may have committed them and soon she becomes Slade's object of obsession in this pulse-pounder that packs an unsettling punch. Featuring stunning cinematography by the great Lucien Ballard (A Kiss Before Dying) and great supporting performances by Sara Allgood (Blackmail) and Sir Cedric Hardwicke (Rope).
Special Features: 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 | The Lodger Vintage Radio Show Performed by Vincent Price and Cathy Lewis | Restoration Comparison | Trailers
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It looks good, and it's a dang good movie.
Merle Oberon and Laird Cregar are outstanding.
The Undying Monster (1942)
The Lodger (1944)
Hangover Square (1945)
was issued in a 3 DVD set back in 2007: Fox Horror Classics Collection (The Lodger / Hangover Square / The Undying Monster)
Now Kino Lorber is reissuing each of these films on Blu-Ray in HD black and white masters, AND they are including significant extras, which made my decision to upgrade a lot easier
"The Undying Monster" is the only true horror film of the three.
"The Lodger" and "Hangover Square" are thrillers, or maybe even lurid melodramas.
Nothing supernatural, but Laird Cregar, who starred in both, could be a really scary lunatic.
The final ten minutes of "The Lodger" are remarkable.
True horror is achieved without makeup or special effects (aside from one P.O.V. shot of falling sandbags).
Just lighting and camera angles.
I first saw this film at a college screening in the 1970s.
It was the English Department ("Film as Literature"), so the audience was reasonably sophisticated.
At 1:20:02 everybody screamed at the of top of their lungs, and kept it up for seven seconds.
No special effects: Laird Cregar is just walking toward the camera.
The lighting is like nothing I've ever seen.
Following this, Hugo Friedhofer's music builds up a terrific head of steam, then stops dead @ 1:22:30.
Twenty-five seconds of silence interrupted by panicked breathing.
Lon Chaney transformed into the Wolf Man thanks to makeup and trick photography.
Laird Cregar transformed into the monster thanks to acting alone: his eyes are mesmerizing.
"Hangover Square", filmed a year after "The Lodger", is a virtual remake of "The Lodger".
Same villain (Laird Cregar), same hero (George Sanders), same director, same writer.
Only the leading lady was different (Merle Oberon in "The Lodger", Linda Darnell in "Hangover Square").
"Hangover Square" has the advantages of a larger budget and a great Bernard Hermann film score, but "The Lodger" did it first
(yes, it was originally filmed by Alfred Hitchcock as a silent film in 1927, but the plot is different).
The six foot three, 300 pound Cregar died in 1944, aged 31, shortly after finishing "Hangover Square" (reportedly from the effects of excessive dieting).
Following his death, the Laird Cregar "heavy" roles mostly went to Raymond Burr (at least until the advent of television, when he was recast as good guy Perry Mason).
Vincent Price also got his share, though he lacked the imposing physical presence of Cregar and Burr.
English SDH subtitles (the DVD also had an optional Spanish audio track, and French and Spanish subtitles, none of which are on the new Blu-Ray).
The new transfer is not perfect - there are still a lot of scratches that shouldn't be there, but the HD transfer reproduces twice as many shades of gray as the old DVD.
Fox was actually pretty generous with the extras back in 2007:
"The Lodger" and "Hangover Square" each had a commentary track, and all three films had a generous selection of featurettes.
All the extras from 2007 have been carried over to the Blu-Rays, PLUS
-- "The Undying Monster" Undying Monster [Blu-ray] now has TWO very well-done commentary tracks (versus none in 2007)
-- "The Lodger" REVIEWED ON THIS PAGE also has TWO commentary tracks (one is carried over from 2007).
-- "Hangover Square" will probably also have two commentary tracks, but release of it has been delayed until later in 2017 (which actually confirms that Kino is going to the trouble of creating new HD masters for these films)
I have a twenty year collection of classic movies on DVD.
Many of them are now being reissued on Blu-Ray.
If cost were no issue, I'd replace all my old DVDs with the latest technology, but cost is an issue.
Color films from the 1950s and '60s would seem to benefit more from the improved resolution of Blu-Ray than ancient black and white classics from the '30s and '40s.
I have managed to replace a number of black and white Humphrey Bogart DVDs with Blu-Rays.
Plus I ordered the "Complete Legacy" sets of "Frankenstein" and "The Wolf Man" on Blu-Ray (Amazon Deal of the Day).
In every case, I was pleasantly surprised at the improvement in the black and white picture.
One thing that would make the decision easier would be if studios were to include additional bonus features that were not on the original DVD.
This is usually not the case, but there are exceptions.
These black & white films reissued on Blu-Ray came with a lot of extras (commentaries and featurettes) not on the original DVD:
-- The Chase (1946) [Blu-ray] (Kino Lorber)
-- Pitfall (1948) [Blu-ray] (Kino Lorber)
-- 99 River Street [Blu-ray] (Kino Lorber)
-- In a Lonely Place (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Criterion)
-- Too Late for Tears (Newly Restored) [Blu-ray/DVD] (Flicker Alley)
-- Woman on the Run (Newly Restored) [Blu-ray/DVD] (Flicker Alley)