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House by the River (1950)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 25 March 1950 (USA)
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.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

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

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) »

Taglines:

Enticing blonde beauty lures a lover's straying eyes ... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 March 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Floodtide  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

John Byrne: Stephen... I can't go through with this.
Stephen Byrne: You promised to stay up there.
John Byrne: Listen to me. The only thing to do is go to the police. Tell then exactly how it happened. It was an accident.
Stephen Byrne: But, they'll never believe me. Even you don't believe me!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The River Yields Its Secrets
12 October 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The most interesting aspect of House By The River is the fact that it was produced at Republic Pictures, the home of Roy Rogers and several other B movie cowboys and the values those pictures put forth. Hardly the place for a moody and atmospheric thriller that examines a man's moral degeneracy directed by Fritz Lang who always likes to explore the dark. One thing that does mark this as a Republic film is the usual Herbert J. Yates economy.

But for a director like Lang who was used to exploring shadowy worlds, economy on the set isn't a hindrance, though back in Germany this man directed the opulent Metropolis. House By The River delivers the most for its meager budget.

Louis Hayward who was a poor man's Tyrone Power and like Power could play straight heroes and hero/heels gets his Nightmare Alley type role as the rich and idle writer who just can't move the writer's block. He takes a real fancy to maid Dorothy Patrick and when she repulses his advances, Hayward kills her. He gets older and club footed brother Lee Bowman to dump the body in the river. But as dead bodies will do, they bloat and have a nasty habit of floating to the top.

Lang and Hayward create a really frightening picture of moral degeneracy that would have resonated well with post World War II audiences who had just defeated a nation gripped in the philosophy that it was a race of super people. Jane Wyatt gets her innings in playing Hayward's wife who Bowman also loved and who starts thinking that maybe she married the wrong brother.

I have to single out Jody Gilbert from the cast who plays Bowman's housekeeper and who Bowman takes his frustrations out on after he's helped Hayward. She's not the sharpest knife in the drawer and misreads all of Bowman's signals and later does him damage at a coroner's inquest.

I'm not sure how much money House By The River brought in to Republic Pictures, but it is a minor masterpiece for this studio.


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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