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Awake In The Dark
What you're watching these days on the Big Screen and the Small Screen.


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Old April 28th, 2003, 07:18 PM   #1
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Great b&w film

I saw a film the other night that absolutely knocked me out, the 1944 film, "The Lodger." This is not to be confused with an earlier film of the same title from Alfred Hitchcock. This version stars a relative unkown, Laird Cregar as a very creepy, Jack the Ripper, but the names on the billboard were Merle Oberon and George Sanders. Tragically, Cregar died a year later, starving himself to death in an effort to lose weight in his effort to become a "leading man."

But the real star is the fabulous lighting by Lucien Ballard, who had a career as a cinematographer that spanned over forty years! He worked with most of the "A" list directors, including Kubrick and Peckinpah, but probably learned a lot from his early association with Joseph von Sternberg. Shortly after making "The Lodger," Ballard would marry Oberon, but it only lasted four years.

Although the film was shot in the US of A, the art direction perfectly mimics "London after dark," with a heavy dose of smoke and wet cobblestones. The night shots are just breathtaking in their noir quality, mise-en-scene, and intricate tracking shots. I would like to give the director, John Brahm, credit for some of this, but his career seems otherwise undistinguished.

The movie would go on to win a well deserved Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a truly "classic" black and white film. Unfortunately, it appears it is not available to purchase, and I was just lucky enough to stumble upon it while cable surfing. I was totally hooked in the first two minutes. If anyone knows how to locate a copy of this film, I would appreciate hearing from you. Contact me at waynorr@hotmail.com
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Old April 28th, 2003, 08:43 PM   #2
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I recall seeing this many years ago and some of the scenes left a lasting impression on me. I'd love to see it again but, indeed, according to the IMDB, it's not yet available on tape or DVD.

BTW, George Sanders also had a very rocky personal life and committed suicide in the early 1970's.
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Old April 30th, 2003, 09:37 AM   #3
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Ebay has it on VHS:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...&category=2275

and 16mm:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...&category=1477

Both sellers appear to have good feedback. Hope this helps,
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Old April 30th, 2003, 10:33 AM   #4
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Thanks for taking the time to search that out Chris. The second item is for a 16mm version that is currently up to $152 in bids.
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