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TopBilled

THE MAN IN THE ATTIC (1953)

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Love this film-- Jack Palance is perfectly creepy and tormented in this highly atmospheric remake of THE LODGER.

 

It's been airing recently on FXM Retro.

 

Anyone else a fan of this movie...?

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Last night I discovered that Man in the Attic was available on one of the free Roku movie channels. So, between Ms. Doll's article and TB's recommendation, it seemed like the ideal time to watch this one.

 

In my opinion, The Lodger is, overall, a better movie than Man in the Attic. And it is the cast that puts the former on top. Merle Oberon versus Constance Smith? The former. George Sanders versus Byron Palmer? The former. But Jack Palance (in what I believe was his first leading role) definitely gives Laird Cregar a run for the money. Not necessarily a surprise considering that he received back-to-back nominations for Best Supporting Actor during that time frame. And, although both gentlemen provided fine performances, I think that Mr. Palance's features gave him an edge because they were just the right combination of handsome and sinister that one could imagine his character having an easier time appealing to the actress/co-lodger/potential victim and, therefore, an easier time doing her in. Is it any wonder that Mr. Palance eventually portrayed both Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and Dracula? Or that he was the visual inspiration for Marvel Comic's version of Dracula even before he himself portrayed Dracula?

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Last night I discovered that Man in the Attic was available on one of the free Roku movie channels. So, between Ms. Doll's article and TB's recommendation, it seemed like the ideal time to watch this one.
 
In my opinion, The Lodger is, overall, a better movie than Man in the Attic. And it is the cast that puts the former on top. Merle Oberon versus Constance Smith? The former. George Sanders versus Byron Palmer? The former. But Jack Palance (in what I believe was his first leading role) definitely gives Laird Cregar a run for the money. Not necessarily a surprise considering that he received back-to-back nominations for Best Supporting Actor during that time frame. And, although both gentlemen provided fine performances, I think that Mr. Palance's features gave him an edge because they were just the right combination of handsome and sinister that one could imagine his character having an easier time appealing to the actress/co-lodger/potential victim and, therefore, an easier time doing her in. Is it any wonder that Mr. Palance eventually portrayed both Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and Dracula? Or that he was the visual inspiration for Marvel Comic's version of Dracula even before he himself portrayed Dracula?

 

 

I have to catch Man in the Attic.   I have seen The Lodger a few times and like the film (yea,  and Oberon looking just fantastic).  With Jack giving Laird a run for the money that makes this remake worth a look.

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Last night I discovered that Man in the Attic was available on one of the free Roku movie channels. So, between Ms. Doll's article and TB's recommendation, it seemed like the ideal time to watch this one.
 
In my opinion, The Lodger is, overall, a better movie than Man in the Attic. And it is the cast that puts the former on top. Merle Oberon versus Constance Smith? The former. George Sanders versus Byron Palmer? The former. But Jack Palance (in what I believe was his first leading role) definitely gives Laird Cregar a run for the money. Not necessarily a surprise considering that he received back-to-back nominations for Best Supporting Actor during that time frame. And, although both gentlemen provided fine performances, I think that Mr. Palance's features gave him an edge because they were just the right combination of handsome and sinister that one could imagine his character having an easier time appealing to the actress/co-lodger/potential victim and, therefore, an easier time doing her in. Is it any wonder that Mr. Palance eventually portrayed both Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and Dracula? Or that he was the visual inspiration for Marvel Comic's version of Dracula even before he himself portrayed Dracula?

 

Good review, Liam. It certainly is a tour-de-force for Palance, no other way to describe it. I think his Ripper is much sexier than Cregar's. It is a lot easier to imagine ("see") the repeated violent sex acts that are no doubt occurring just off-camera. Palance makes it seems like sexual frustration getting its high-voltage release. Cregar, as fine an actor as he is, does not even come close to suggesting that. As a result, I think Palance's version is much more tortured and ultimately more sympathetic. 

 

I also like Frances Bavier, pre-Mayberry, who makes the mistress of the house very no-nonsense, yet likable. She guides some of our impressions of the man staying in her home. When she trusts him, we trust him-- when she grows suspicious, so do we. So in some ways the story is told through her perspective. And the interiors are absolutely gorgeous-- Fox outdid itself with the set design in this 50s remake.

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A great double feature for TCM to consider would be airing this film and THE LODGER one evening (in October)...I think fans of this genre would certainly enjoy it.

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