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House by the River
     

The House by the River

3.0 1
Director: Fritz Lang, Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman, Jane Wyatt

Cast: Fritz Lang, Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman, Jane Wyatt

 
Fritz Lang was the guiding hand of this laudable Republic Studios melodrama. Louis Hayward stars as a wealthy wastrel who tries to seduce the family maid. She resists, and he kills her. Long jealous of his brother Lee Bowman, Hayward does his best to pin the blame for the murder on his sibling. Also affected by Hayward's arrogant dementia is his long-suffering wife

Overview

Fritz Lang was the guiding hand of this laudable Republic Studios melodrama. Louis Hayward stars as a wealthy wastrel who tries to seduce the family maid. She resists, and he kills her. Long jealous of his brother Lee Bowman, Hayward does his best to pin the blame for the murder on his sibling. Also affected by Hayward's arrogant dementia is his long-suffering wife Jane Wyatt. Originally, director Lang had proposed that the unfortunate maid be a black woman, and that the killing take place accidentally during some harmless flirtation on Hayward's part. He was vetoed by the timorous Republic staff (even the slightest hint of miscegenation was taboo in 1950), but House by the River turned out pretty well all the same.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Louis Hayward oozes haughty, amoral creepiness in director Fritz Lang's sole foray into the Victorian Gothic mode. Hayward's Stephen Byrne is an unsuccessful writer who nonetheless leads a comfortable life in a beautiful riverfront home due to his wife's fortune. After accidentally strangling the maid in a fit of perverse desire, he dumps her body in the river with the help of his brother John (Lee Bowman). Far from feeling guilty, he turns the maid's disappearance into a promotional campaign for his latest book, begins writing a new novel based on the crime, and even does his best to frame his brother for the murder. But the maid's body literally comes back to haunt him thanks to the river's uncooperative tides and his brother's accumulating sense of guilt. Lang beautifully evokes the Victorian era with his customary attention to detail. Cinematographer Edward J. Cronjager's low-key lighting fills the Byrnes mansion with appropriately gloomy shadows, and the moonlit river scenes make it seem as if nature itself is offended by the crime. Avant-garde composer George Antheil's haunting score is the perfect accompaniment to this chilling and unconventional exercise in suspense.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/22/2005
UPC:
0738329041922
Original Release:
1950
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kino Video
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:25:00
Sales rank:
45,646

Special Features

Mastered from rare archival material at the national film and television archive, London; Interview with celebrated producer and cineaste Pierre Rissient; Gallery of images

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Louis Hayward Stephen Byrne
Lee Bowman John Byrne
Jane Wyatt Marjorie Byrne
Dorothy Patrick Emily Gaunt
Ann Shoemaker Mrs. Ambrose
Jo Gilbert Flora Bantam
Peter Brocco Coroner
Howland Chamberlain District Attorney
Margaret Seddon Mrs. Whittaker
Sarah Padden Mrs. Beach
Kathleen Freeman Effie Ferguson
Will Wright Inspector Sarten
Leslie Kimmell Mr. Gaunt
Effie Laird Mrs. Gaunt

Technical Credits
Fritz Lang Director
George Antheil Score Composer
Edward J. Cronjager Cinematographer
Mel Dinelli Screenwriter
Arthur D. Hilton Editor
Bert Leven Art Director
Howard Lydecker Special Effects
Theodore Lydecker Special Effects
John McCarthy Set Decoration/Design
Adele Palmer Costumes/Costume Designer
Charles Thompson Set Decoration/Design
Howard Welsch Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- House By the River
1. Opening Titles [:09]
2. Hot Water [5:46]
3. Unwilling Accomplice [5:21]
4. Hiding the Evidence [3:07]
5. Marjorie [6:01]
6. Cause for Celebration [2:58]
7. Maid Missing [2:47]
8. The Prominent Author [4:51]
9. Coming Unmoored [5:24]
10. Flotsam [10:42]
11. The Inquest [5:32]
12. Lingering Doubts [11:43]
13. The Ruse [7:38]
14. Death on the River [4:29]
15. The Final Chapter [3:56]

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The House by the River 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
anselmus More than 1 year ago
This neglected film by Fritz Lang is a good suspense story in the manner of Alfred Hitchock, like Shadow of a Doubt, Rebecca, Psycho or Rope, for example. Part of its appeal is the fine location photography of the river and the moody and atmospheric photography of the river setting. The cast is quite good and the mood is macabre.