by Steed Dropout
Aug 20, 2013
A HITCHCOCK YOU NEVER KNEW
Opening night of a Hitchcock nine-silent films series brought laughter and amazement to U.C. Berkeley’s PFA, Friday.
Never mind that the laughter was inappropriate — in response to the facial contortions and eye-popping of British silent film idol Ivor Novello.
The amazement was appropriate enough. Tinting and formerly unassembled film elements from nine film archives produced a startling version of the 1926, “The Lodger.”
Hitchcock’s first British hit — drawing on German film expressionism — played like fifties technicolor, if you allow for 1920’s stage-conventions — which evoked laughter.
Challenged to tell a story in faces, one silent-era director urged his actors to “move your face.” Ivor Novello (hamming it up) reflected that approach admirably, topping even Bella Lugosi.