7.2/10
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House by the River (1950)

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.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Mel Dinelli (screenplay), A.P. Herbert (novel)
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Cast

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

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 March 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Floodtide See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Louis Hayward and Lee Bowman play brothers. See more »

Quotes

John Byrne: You must be very, very ill Stephen...
Stephen Byrne: Ill?
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User Reviews

 
A dank and brooding Gothic from Fritz Lang
5 November 2001 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

House by the River is something of an anomaly; it's more of an old-dark-house Gothic than the grittier dramas, from Fury to Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, which Fritz Lang made in his American period. (The location of this house is a worrisome and amateurism anomaly, too; the conventions, milieu and some of the accents suggests that it's an English country estate, but much else argues that the film takes place in the U.S.) Would-be writer Louis Hayward, getting flirtatious with the maid in the absence of his wife (Jane Wyatt), accidently strangles her when she resists his advances. His brother (Lee Bowman) reluctantly agrees to cover up for him and help sink the body in the sinister, ever-present river that runs by the edge of the property; the resulting scandal of the disappeared servant bolsters the writer's flagging career. When suspicion begans to gather around his innocent brother, Hayward, by now seriously demented, couldn't be more pleased. But then Wyatt comes across a hidden manuscript; Hayward (you see), flushed by his phoney success, resolves to write "what he knows...."

Edward Cronjager's heavily shaded cinematography and Georges Anthiel's brooding score help fill out Lang's dark, clammy vision, making the river -- forever disgorging its flotsam and jetsam -- a principal character in the action. House by the River is a good old-fashioned thriller, particularly in its Gothic closing scenes, but it's not in a class with Lang's films at the top of his American form, like Scarlet Street, The Big Heat or Human Desire.


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