This is a thrilling crime drama made in 1949, and is one of the many films directed by Fritz Lang who was one of Germany's foremost filmmakers in the silent 1920s era before going to the US in the early 30s. In Lang's very capable and experienced hands, this low budget melodrama becomes quite a high-class drama with convincing characters and psychological suspense which is still exciting and entertaining viewing over half a century later. Lang's use of strong light and shadow contrasts add intensity and mood to many scenes, and his fine attention to detail further enhances the viewer's appreciation of the story and characters. These aspects, along with a fine script (based on a novel) allowed Lang to really bring out the nature of each character which, for me, is the highlight of this film. First there is the contrast between two brothers: one is a struggling novelist whose lust for the housemaid leads to her accidental death, which he then attempts to cover up with the help of his innocent and good-natured brother. Louis Hayward plays the role of Stephen Byrne superbly as the character becomes even more vile, twisted and ruthless, thinking he can get away with murder and even cash in on the housemaid's mysterious disappearance and death. Right from the start, the viewer is already repulsed by Stephen Byrne, but drawn in sympathy to the morally upright brother, John, and Stephen's unsuspecting, loving wife, played wonderfully by Jane Wyatt. Apart from this outstanding trio, I also enjoyed the character of John's gossipy and nagging housemaid, and found the pace, timing and unfolding of the story perfect in every aspect. The picture quality, while black & white, is nice and clear, and the sound is also good on this DVD, making it overall very enjoyable viewing for anyone who likes a good psychological crime drama. There is also a brief interview with the French producer Pierre Rissient, to whom credit is due for making "House by the River" available again, and there are also some colour stills from the film as bonus features on the DVD, both of which I also enjoyed.