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House By the River (1949)

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11 new from CDN$ 20.69 4 used from CDN$ 20.74

Product details

  • Actors: Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman, Jane Wyatt, Dorothy Patrick, Ann Shoemaker
  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Writers: A.P. Herbert, Mel Dinelli
  • Producers: Howard Welsch, Robert Peters
  • Format: Black & White, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • Release Date: June 11 2007
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • ASIN: B000BGH2N6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #48,416 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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Product description

Product description

House By the River (1949)

Virtually unseeable for half a century, House by the River, the rarest of Fritz Lang's American films, proves to be an atmospheric serving of Southern Gothic with style and perversity to burn. This is a happy surprise, given that the film was made at a low point in Lang's career, at a Poverty Row studio, with a low-wattage cast. Louis Hayward--whose dark, spoiled good looks and insinuating smile suggest Orson Welles' tawdry evil twin--plays an effete author in a small 19th-century town. One hot, lazy afternoon he's tempted (in a brilliantly directed scene) by thoughts of the comely maid soaking in his upstairs bathroom. There follows an awkward pass, a hand over her mouth, and suddenly he finds himself an accidental murderer. With a dead body to get rid of, living by a river comes in handy. But on this river, secrets have a way of returning with the tide.

The script by Mel Dinelli (who had just written the trim 1949 thriller The Window) ably milks the suspense, and there's a creepy moonlit search by rowboat for the now-you-see-it, now-you-don't corpse. The failed novelist, beginning to relish his guilt, acquires fresh inspiration as a writer and also becomes a cagy manipulator of other people, notably the wife (Jane Wyatt) who doesn't know what he's done, and the crippled brother (Lee Bowman) who does. Making a virtue of production resources only slightly upscale of Edgar G. Ulmer, Lang turns the titular domicile into an Expressionist hothouse where lace curtains yield a web of shadows, potted plants throw jagged black spears across high-key faces, and the breeze from the river is anything but fresh. Mastered from British archival materials, the DVD gleams like a cutlery-store window. --Richard T. Jameson

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5.0 out of 5 stars"You Are A Swine, Stephen!"...
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4.0 out of 5 starsA Victorian, Southern, Gothic Melodrama.
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4.0 out of 5 starsA Gothic Thriller
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5.0 out of 5 starsA much underrated psychological drama
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