7.2/10
2,356
40 user 24 critic

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)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

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

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 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
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 an affair with a co-worker's wife following a murder on a train where they meet.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 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
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
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
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

When a conservative middle-aged professor engages in a minor dalliance with a femme fatale, he is plunged into a nightmarish quicksand of blackmail and murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After the murder of his fiancée, a Wyoming ranch hand sets out to find her killer.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Arthur Kennedy, Mel Ferrer
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    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
You and Me (1938)
Crime | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An altruistic department-store owner hires ex-convicts in order to give them a second chance at life. Unfortunately, one of the convicts he hires recruits two of his fellow ex-convicts in a plan to rob the store.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, George Raft, Harry Carey
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a man in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman, her venal fiancé persuades her to con him out of the fortune they mistakenly assume he possesses.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea
Liliom (1934)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Two women love the same man in a world of few prospects. In Budapest, Liliom is a "public figure," a rascal who's a carousel barker, loved by the experienced merry-go-round owner and by a ... See full summary »

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Charles Boyer, Madeleine Ozeray, Robert Arnoux
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »
Edit

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?
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Lang's hidden masterpiece
17 November 2006 | by clore_2See 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.

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.


16 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 40 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed