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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:04 pm 
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The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

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With his third feature film, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, Alfred Hitchcock took a major step toward greatness and made what he would come to consider his true directorial debut. This haunting silent thriller tells the tale of a mysterious young man (matinee idol Ivor Novello) who takes up residence at a London boardinghouse, just as a killer who preys on blonde women, known as the Avenger, descends upon the city. The film is animated by the palpable energy of a young stylist at play, decisively establishing the director's formal and thematic obsessions. In this edition, The Lodger is accompanied by Downhill, another 1927 silent exploration of Hitchcock's "wrong man" trope, also headlined by Novello—making for a double feature that reveals the great master of the macabre as he was just coming into his own.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• 2K digital restoration, with a new score by composer Neil Brand, performed by the Orchestra of Saint Paul's
Downhill, director Alfred Hitchcock's 1927 feature film starring Ivor Novello, in a 2K digital restoration with a new piano score by Brand
• New interview with film scholar William Rothman on Hitchcock's visual signatures
• New video essay by art historian Steven Jacobs about Hitchcock's use of architecture
• Excerpts from audio interviews with Hitchcock by filmmakers François Truffaut (1962) and Peter Bogdanovich (1963)
• Radio adaptation of The Lodger from 1940, directed by Hitchcock
• New interview with Brand on composing for silent film
• PLUS: Essays on The Lodger and Downhill by critic Philip Kemp


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:13 pm 

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dwk wrote:

Missed opportunity if Downhill (also directed by Hitchcock, also starring Ivor Novello, and also held by Criterion) isn't included as a supplement. I doubt it has the selling power to warrant a spine.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:16 pm 
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HitchcockLang wrote:
Missed opportunity if Downhill (also directed by Hitchcock, also starring Ivor Novello, and also held by Criterion) isn't included as a supplement. I doubt it has the selling power to warrant a spine.


Agreed. Was it also restored recently. Are all the restorations potential Criterions? Not sure many would warrant a separate spine, either.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:29 pm 
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denti alligator wrote:
HitchcockLang wrote:
Missed opportunity if Downhill (also directed by Hitchcock, also starring Ivor Novello, and also held by Criterion) isn't included as a supplement. I doubt it has the selling power to warrant a spine.


Agreed. Was it also restored recently. Are all the restorations potential Criterions? Not sure many would warrant a separate spine, either.
At least a few (Blackmail) of them should be with Studio Canal and thus be with Lionsgate - where we all know that they'll never see the light of day in this country. One has to wonder how much longer until Studio Canal realize how terrible a partner Lionsgate is (Or will they look at The Man Who Fell to Earth, the first Lionsgate Studio Canal title in years, and think "hmm, keep up the good work!).

That said, who knows if things might change - and Criterion could even put out a complete silents box, if they're able to pull another Qaatsi boxset and get access to Lionsgate titles.

I can see how Criterion might want to package together lesser Hitchcock titles... but on the other hand they'd probably be crazy to bury some lesser films. If the PD Bandits have taught me anything, its that any movie/set with Hitchcock slapped on it will sell/be the only thing most people see. "Hey look, another Hitchcock movie! I'm sure this is just like that Psycho movie I know and love."


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:59 pm 
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It's a pity, Blackmail would be a perfect release for Criterion with the LD commentary plus the silent and sound versions.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:21 pm 
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An Eclipse set for the lesser titles would be great.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:27 pm 
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Lesser my fanny, The Ring and the silent version of Blackmail are even better than The Lodger. Give the restored materials now available for them, an Eclipse DVD would feel like a poor compromise.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:30 pm 
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Like Criterion would license any Hitchcock just to dump it without extras on DVD only...


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:51 pm 
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Yeah, agreed. But Downhill, Champagne, and Easy Virtue are not going to be main features. Maybe extras.

Yes, The Ring and Blackmail are amazing. But besides those and The Lodger the Hitchcock silents are nothing to write home about (though I think The Manxman and The Farmer's Wife are pretty good).


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:29 pm 
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Criterion should have Pleasure Garden, Lodger, Downhill, and Easy Virtue. The other five are likely with Studio Canal. The Lodger would be the only film I imagine they'd bother making a new/alternate score for. Downhill has an existing score on the Amazon download, and I assume the other two have scores from the restorations as well. They could end up in a box, or maybe as two releases., with Pleasure Garden getting a spine due to novelty if not quality

Blackmail could easily anchor a second volume with the other five, but I just hope someone puts them out.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:35 pm 
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Shrew wrote:
Criterion should have Pleasure Garden, Lodger, Downhill, and Easy Virtue. The other five are likely with Studio Canal. The Lodger would be the only film I imagine they'd bother making a new/alternate score for. Downhill has an existing score on the Amazon download, and I assume the other two have scores from the restorations as well. They could end up in a box, or maybe as two releases., with Pleasure Garden getting a spine due to novelty if not quality

Blackmail could easily anchor a second volume with the other five, but I just hope someone puts them out.


That makes sense. Then the two lesser films could be thrown on as extras. One for each of the two "major" films.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:48 am 
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I kept reading about how the "Hitchcock silent nine" were found and restored, and I'm still surprised to see how scattered their releases have been. I'd have thought they would have simply been bundled together, but it seems they haven't been so far (included by the BFI, despite them having performed the restorations).


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:41 am 
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The BFI has no say in the matter - where it comes to the Hitchcock silents, they're essentially the equivalent of a restoration house like Deluxe. Granted, one difference is that they initiated the restoration project themselves as a major cultural undertaking, but the end result is no different: they don't have the rights, so can't exploit the end result.

In Britain, the rights are held by either StudioCanal or ITV, and I imagine Criterion would have to negotiate with them in order to obtain the BFI restorations.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:19 am 

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I agree that Hitchcock's silents are not among the greatest silent films, but they have a special place in my heart as it was an excursion to watch everything Hitch ever directed that got me so interested in silent film to begin with. I'm a huge fan of silent film in general now.

I would love to see Criterion release The Pleasure Garden as it has never received any kind of legitimate region 1 release (heck, it never shows up on the most prominent illegitimate releases of Hitch's early British films either). Hard to believe no one has ever snagged it and released it in the States. Seems like it would be pretty easy to market a film with "Alfred Hitchcock's first film available on DVD/blu-ray for the first time" emblazoned across the front. I also don't think the film is half bad, personally.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:27 am 

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HitchcockLang wrote:
Seems like it would be pretty easy to market a film with "Alfred Hitchcock's first film available on DVD/blu-ray for the first time" emblazoned across the front....

Especially considering that even Kertész Mihály's Hungarian silent The Undesirable (1915) was marketed on disc as "from the director of Casablanca"!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:29 am 
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Indeed, The Pleasure Garden is quite good. Hitch's silents are far superior to his first five or six talkies! He didn't really make a great film until The Man Who Knew Too Much. But I would certainly consider The Lodger, The Ring, and Blackmail great films. With the exception of Champagne and Easy Virtue the other silents aren't that far behind.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:34 am 
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Jonathan S wrote:
Especially considering that even Kertész Mihály's Hungarian silent The Undesirable (1915) was marketed on disc as "from the director of Casablanca"!

And quite correctly! I'd have done exactly the same thing in similar circumstances.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:22 pm 
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I like The Pleasure Garden a good bit too, and it would be nice to see the BFI's consolidated restoration get a release over here, as the two versions I've seen were radically different.... especially in the third act. I think the version that commonly circulates online is also missing the opening titles, which are quite striking.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:29 pm 
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If I remember rightly, The Pleasure Garden is the restoration that differs most radically from previously circulated video versions - as a by-product of the research (which involved detailed inspection of all extant prints), they found that a substantial chunk of the film had been removed from UK prints for unexplained reasons, and thankfully this footage appeared to survive.

(Many of the other restorations are all but identical, picture quality aside - The Lodger had already been photochemically restored not that long ago, and with Easy Virtue they had little to work from: indeed, that film was believed lost for many decades.)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:35 pm 
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Jonathan S wrote:
HitchcockLang wrote:
Seems like it would be pretty easy to market a film with "Alfred Hitchcock's first film available on DVD/blu-ray for the first time" emblazoned across the front....

Especially considering that even Kertész Mihály's Hungarian silent The Undesirable (1915) was marketed on disc as "from the director of Casablanca"!

Isn't that just Michael Curtiz before he anglicized his name?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:50 pm 
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I reviewed The Undesirable for Sight & Sound recently and, after umming and aahing about whether to spell out the name change (I assumed S&S readers wouldn't need spoonfeeding), I ended up settling for "made by the future Casablanca director when he was still going by his birth name of Mihály Kertész".

(I am of course fully aware that it was actually Kertész Mihály, but the surname-first practice with Hungarian names seems to be exclusive to the Hungarian language - hand on heart, I've never encountered Bartók Béla, Jancsó Miklós or Szabó István in an English text outside a specific example like that. And to underscore this, the opening credits for A Long Weekend in Pest and Buda feature Darvas Iván, Törőcsik Mari and Eileen Atkins, suggesting that the practice is also restricted exclusively to Hungarian people as well as their language.)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:59 pm 
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Yeah, Hungarians themselves place the surname first with each other, but they recognize that most outsiders do it the other way around. (NB: I'm half Hungarian.)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:53 pm 
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Excellent news.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:08 pm 
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I, too, am thrilled to learn swo is half-Hungarian


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:01 pm 
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*17swo


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