Audience in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger

Discusses the role of the audience in the plot of The Lodger.

This paper briefly shows how the audience is part of the social problem that perpetuates the murders in The Lodger. The Lodger is a silent movie by Hitchcock, and the paper explains how the audience was included in the film, both explicitly and subtly, in specific characters and scenes. It explains that the presence of the movie audience itself and the popularity of the film attest to a societal interest in murder.
The Lodger was Hitchcock’s first suspense thriller and his first great commercial success (Wood 27). This correlation is perhaps no coincidence. Hitchcock’s treatment of the movie audience on screen suggests he understood their interests in murder. The novel, by Marie Belloc Lowndes, from which the screenplay was based, was a treatment of the true, popular case of the notorious English murderer, Jack the Ripper (Spoto 84). What drew the popular appeal to the Jack the Ripper case draws the film’s newspaper readers, radio listeners and bystanders in view of the electric news sign to stories about the Avenger. The audience’s draw to The Lodger cannot be separated from what draws the crowds to the Avenger murders.