Three truly great noir-ish rarities are finally being released on the Fox Classics Collection on Oct. 9. All directed by John Brahm, a terrific director of mood and style who went on to direct plenty of TV episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Thriller, hosted by Boris Karloff, among many others.
The Undying Monster(1942) is about the cursed family of Hammond Hall being killed off by a werewolf. The Lodger (1944) is a sensational story about Jack the Ripper, starring the brilliant Laird Cregar as a mysterious new lodger who is suspected of being a killer. Co-starring opposite Cregar are Merle Oberon, George Sanders and Cedric Hardwicke. But the very best is Hangover Square (1945), in which Laird Cregar plays a London composer who goes psycho when he hears discordant sounds and loud noises. With an amazing score by Bernard Herrmann (who did the stunning soundtracks for countless Hitchcock films like Psycho, Vertigo and North by Northwest). Cregar was always a particular favorite of mine -- he was a menacing character actor (or heavy) in films, but these were his shots at starring roles and purportedly the crash diet he went on to get in shape for Hangover Square was responsible for his untimely death shortly after. He is just astonishing in the film.