Magazine article Screen International

The Genius of Hitchcock (and Sawhney)

Magazine article Screen International

The Genius of Hitchcock (and Sawhney)

Article excerpt

On Saturday the BFI presented the premiere of the restored version of Alfred Hitchcock's 1926 thriller The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog.

This wasn't just any old screening at the Barbican, because it also unveiled a new score by Nitin Sawhney, performed live by the London Symphony Orchestra and the Nitin Sawhney Band (Sawhney himself conducted the orchestra, despite suffering from the flu).

The Lodger marks Hitchcock's third feature and first UK-shot feature (after he returned from working in Germany). The serial killer story also marked his first suspense thriller; with matinee idol Ivor Novello cast against type as a mysterious man who is suspected of a string of killings of blonde women across London. Hitchcock himself called it the "first true 'Hitchcock' movie."

Introducing the screening, Robin Baker, head curator of the BFI National Archive, noted that the original film was made quickly (shot in March and shown to press by September) with a budget of £13,132.10. Baker said: "One of the thrills of watching it, is recognising all these things we see as being Hitchcockian" -- from the use of shadows to the concentration on blondes. "He's trying things on for size that he'd use in his Hollywood career," Baker added. (He also noted that the film could also be called 'Reville-ian,' as Hitch's soon-to-be-wife Alma Reville was AD on The Lodger.)

The new score was commissioned by Network Releasing in partnership with the BFI. "None of the original scores exist [for the Hitchcock silent films the BFI is working on], so that's an extraordinary opportunity to work with the UK's most creative and innovative musicians," Baker noted. …

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