The Lodger (1927) - full review!
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this silent feature is an early example of the director's skill in creating suspenseful situations while keeping a (spoiler) secret to the end. The cast is small, but it includes Ivor Novello in the title role, a popular matinee idol of the time. The story is very simple: a murderer who dubs himself "The Avenger", leaving a calling card on each of his victims, is killing young, fair haired women throughout London, usually on Tuesday nights. Although (certainly) not shown, nor described in any detail, it's intimated that this criminal does more than kill his victims, ala Jack the Ripper. Daisy Bunting (June Tripp) is a model who lives with her parents, and landlords, played by Marie Ault and Arthur Chesney. Her boyfriend Joe Chandler (Malcolm Keen) is a police detective assigned to the case. The question is whether Jonathan Drew (Novello), the very private man who rents a room from Buntings one dark and stormy (well, at least foggy) night, is "The Avenger". The print I saw, that was packaged on the same DVD as Sabotage (1936), is in terrible condition, particularly at the beginning.
Jonathan Drew shows an interest in the attractive Daisy, but suspicion is cast upon him such that "we" are never quite sure whether it's a natural attraction or something more sinister, until near the end. Daisy returns Jonathan's advances, much to the dismay of her parents and police inspector boyfriend. Mrs. Bunting becomes particularly suspicious when Mr. Drew goes out, and comes back late, on a Tuesday evening when yet another fair haired girl (the eighth?) is murdered. Chandler, happy to have an excuse after being rebuffed by Daisy for Jonathan, comes to investigate and then discovers what he thinks is conclusive evidence of the lodger's guilt.
*** SPOILERS ***
Jonathan explains that the newspaper clippings about the murders he's been saving, and the map he has made of the crime locations, is due to the fact that his sister was one of the victims. Before he can be taken in, he escapes, in handcuffs. Even though the police discover that he's innocent, a violent mob catches up with Jonathan and begins to beat him; however, hanging over a fence by his cuffs, he is rescued before the vigilantes kill the innocent man.