House by the River (1950)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  25 March 1950 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,847 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 22 critic

A deranged writer murders a maid after she resists his advances. The writer engages his brother's help in hiding the body, and then watches as the brother becomes the prime suspect.



(screenplay), (novel)
0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Human Desire (1954)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Korean War vet returns to his job as a railroad engineer and becomes involved in a sordid affair with a co-worker's wife and murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a lovely wife and her new husband, settle in an ancient mansion on the East coast, she discovers he may want to kill her.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere
Adventure | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In WW2, the Allies race against time to persuade two nuclear scientists working for the Nazis to switch sides.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Gary Cooper, Robert Alda, Lilli Palmer
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A serial killer has been killing beautiful women in New York, and the new owner of a media company offers a high ranking job to the 1st administrator who can get the earliest scoops on the case.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Stephen Neale has just been released from an asylum during World War 2 in England when he stumbles on a deadly Nazi spy plot by accident, and tries to stop it.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, Carl Esmond
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan, Paul Douglas
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A telephone operator ends up drunk and at the mercy of a cad in his apartment. The next morning she wakes up with a hangover and the terrible fear she may be a murderess.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Ann Sothern
Man Hunt (1941)
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A western based on the story "Gunsight Whitman" by Silvia Richards. Vern Haskell, a nice rancher, seeks out to avenge his fiancé's death when she is killed during a robbery. His revenge ... See full summary »

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Arthur Kennedy, Mel Ferrer
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A novelist aided by his future father-in-law conspires to frame himself in the murder of a stripper as part of an effort to ban capital punishment.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackmer
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Reporter Peter Barter gets murdered while driving to his tv station. Commisioner Kras gets a phone call from clairvoyant Cornelius who saw Barters death in a vision. But a dark force ... See full summary »

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Dawn Addams, Peter van Eyck, Gert Fröbe
Moonfleet (1955)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Moonfleet is set in Dorset, England. The Fleet refers to the land just west of Portland, Southern England.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Stewart Granger, George Sanders, Joan Greenwood


Complete credited cast:
John Byrne
Marjorie Byrne
Dorothy Patrick ...
Emily Gaunt
Ann Shoemaker ...
Mrs. Ambrose
Jody Gilbert ...
Flora Bantam
Peter Brocco ...
Harry - Coroner
Howland Chamberlain ...
District Attorney
Margaret Seddon ...
Mrs. Whittaker - Party Guest
Sarah Padden ...
Mrs. Beach
Effie Ferguson - Party Guest
Inspector Sarten
Leslie Kimmell ...
Mr. Gaunt
Effie Laird ...
Mrs. Gaunt


The unsuccessful writer Stephen Byrne tries to force his servant Emily Gaunt sexually while his wife Marjorie Byrne is visiting a friend and accidentally strangles her. His crippled brother John Byrne coincidently comes to his house in that moment, and Stephen asks him to help to get rid of the corpse and avoid an scandal, since his wife would be pregnant. The naive and good John helps his brother to dump the body in the river nearby his house. Stephen uses the disappearance of Emily to blame her and promote his book. When the body is found by the police, all the evidences points to John, and he becomes the prime suspect of the murder. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

writer | murder | maid | river | death | See All (58) »


WOMEN SPOKE OF HER with Scorn...MEN THOUGHT OF HER with Longing! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 March 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Floodtide  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Fritz Lang originally wanted a black woman to play the role of Emily Gaunt but the producers refused. See more »


John Byrne: You must be very, very ill Stephen...
Stephen Byrne: Ill?
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Lang's hidden masterpiece
17 November 2006 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

For some reason, the great director chose to degrade this film on some occasions, yet at other times he would revel in details of the film's opening quarter-hour. However, at the time that he made this film, he was despondent over the collapse of his Diana Productions which was a co-venture with Joan Bennett and her husband Walter Wanger. With no offers in sight from the majors, Lang chose to visit "Poverty Row" which may have left him with bad memories of a film of which he should have been more pleased - after all, even at Warners and with superstar Gary Cooper, the resultant CLOAK AND DAGGER is difficult even for this Lang fan to justify.

In HOUSE BY THE RIVER, we have Lang working at the bargain basement Republic Pictures, where Orson Welles had just made a similar descent to make MACBETH. In each case, the decline was only in budget, not in quality. In Lang's case, we have a film that plays as a great companion piece to his SECRET BEHIND THE DOOR, both being a change of pace Gothic thriller from the master of spies and noir.

Incidentally, the promise of artistic freedom offered at Republic did stop when Lang attempted to cast a black actress as the maid. We're just lucky that Vera Hruba Ralston (wife of company head Yates) wasn't cast as the wife.

The screenwriter, Mel Dinelli, working from the A.P. Herbert novel, was a past and future hand at these "house" mellers - he previously did the screenplay for THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE and would do BEWARE, MY LOVELY in 1952. He segued well from Robert Siodmak to Fritz Lang as long-time Langian themes such as conscience and fate are in evidence here. Oddly, it is not the lead who suffers a conscience. Hayward's Stephen Byrne, a hack writer who has been lusting for the new maid played by Dorothy Patrick, revels in his self-promoted celebrity now that she's "disappeared." She's actually been accidentally murdered by Stephen, who had been filled with lustful thoughts as the maid bathed and seems to have a near orgasm as he hears the bathwater go down the drain outside the house - the look on Hayward's face is priceless.

It's his brother John who aided him in hiding the body (and who is referred to as having gotten his brother out of other scrapes) who turns to drink to quell his conscience and who is the primary suspect in the inquest. Little does he know that his brother is subtly implicating him in the crime in toto. His fate would be that no good deed (siblingly speaking) goes unpunished. The brother is played by Lee Bowman, and it's the only role of his in which I can say he's memorable. That's not to say that otherwise he's a forgettable player, just that he's not distinguishable from a bunch of mustachioed players who came out while the head ranks were off to war and who quickly had to retreat once they returned.

Hayward is so enjoying his celebrity that he's signing books by day and wife Jane Wyatt refers to him being out all night and smelling of cheap perfume when he comes home. She's beginning to realize that Lee Bowman's John Byrne is the better of the brothers, although the story implies that she was his own unrequited love.

But as unsympathetic as Stephen Byrne may be, before an audience ever rooted for Robert Walker trying to retrieve his lighter in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, we share Stephen's fears of the body doing some synchronized swimming with the deer. While attempting to retrieve it, he only makes it worse for himself by accidentally (he can't do much right it seems) opening the top of the sack and letting out some flowing blond hair to make it even more obvious. When Stephen later finds that his brother's monogram is on the sack, he breaks into a devilish smile of contentment.

Cinematographer Edward Cronjager works well with Lang on their second pairing (the previous one was the gorgeous Technicolor WESTERN UNION). When the body (in a sack) starts popping up in the river, we recall the image of a floating deceased deer from earlier in the film and a character's claim that it shows up at about the same time every day given the tide.

If the ending seems rushed, it's only a reflection of the lead character's madness (a quick snap), unlike the state of mind of Chris Cross (Edward G. Robinson) at the ending of SCARLET STREET which is more detailed. It could have been a bit tidier, but maybe the head man cut the budget and schedule short. It was known to happen at Republic.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The pencil that rolls off the desk Stuart Gardner
copy of 'house by the river' jude-thadd
Which Fritz Lang Film Should I Watch Next marhefka
Film Noir Style smugrr
Discuss House by the River (1950) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: