British "Double Indemnity"-style mystery, w/ two US leads
Released in the US by Lippert as "Heat Wave", The House Across The Lake (actually a more accurate title, although Heat Wave suggests some of Hillary Brooke's smoldering sensuality!) is yet another film owing a debt to both Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. American Alex Nicol stars as a heavy-drinking writer who lives across the lake from Hillary Brooke, a scheming Black Widow temptress who teases various men she meets while being married to a wealthy but distant husband (yes, all the cliches are here, but they play well!). Needless to say, Nicol begins a friendship with the husband while falling for the ravishing Ms. Brooke, and any lover of noir thrillers can probably predict the way the film develops. Still, it is well-played by the leads and by the British supporting cast, and Mr. Nicol convincingly portrays a man beaten-down by life, who is brought to the point where he has nothing to lose. I won't give away the ending, but it seems somewhat of a surprise while it is happening, which is what a good mystery should do, even if it is constructed from well-known plot elements of the genre. If you like post-war B&W noir-tinged mysteries of this type, it's a good way to spend 85 minutes on a rainy day--and another opportunity to re-acquaint yourselves with the two underrated American stars, Alex Nicol and Hillary Brooke (fans of Ms. Brooke should check out the early 50s gem CONFIDENCE GIRL, co-starring Tom Conway, for a real Hillary Brooke tour-de-force).
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