House by the River (1950)

88 mins | Film noir | 25 March 1950

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writer:

Mel Dinelli

Producer:

Howard Welsch

Cinematographer:

Edward Cronjager

Production Designer:

Boris Leven

Production Company:

Fidelity Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Floodtide . Although Arthur Hilton is credited onscreen as editor, HR production charts list Arthur Roberts as the ... More Less

The working title of this film was Floodtide . Although Arthur Hilton is credited onscreen as editor, HR production charts list Arthur Roberts as the editor. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Apr 1950.
---
Daily Variety
24 Mar 50
p. 56.
Film Daily
4 Apr 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 1949.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 50
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Apr 50
p. 246.
New York Times
2 May 50
p. 25.
Variety
29 Mar 50
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Cost des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The House by the River by A. P. Herbert (New York, 1921).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Floodtide
Release Date:
25 March 1950
Production Date:
early June--early July 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
23 May 1950
Copyright Number:
LP13
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
88
Length(in feet):
7,930
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14101
SYNOPSIS

In the 1890s, in the back garden of his elegant Victorian house on the banks of a river, unsuccessful novelist Stephen Byrne struggles with his latest manuscript. When the maid, Emily Gaunt, asks Stephen for permission to use the upstairs bath, he blithely agrees as his wife Marjorie has gone out. Emily finishes her bath, borrows one of Marjorie's bathrobes and begins down the dark stairwell. From his place in the shadows, Stephen suddenly emerges and begins kissing Emily. When Emily begins to scream, Stephen notices that his gossipy neighbor, Mrs. Ambrose, has wandered close to the front door. Fearing a scandal, Stephen grabs Emily's throat to prevent her from screaming, but strangles her instead. A few minutes later, Stephen's lame brother John arrives, and Stephen begs him for help. Together, they wrap the body in an old wood sack and dump it into the flood-prone river. That evening, at a party hosted by socialite Mrs. Whittaker, John watches with disgust as Stephen amuses the guests with his drunken merriment. By the time Stephen and Marjorie, who is pregnant, return from the party, their housekeeper, Mrs. Beach, has already informed the police of Emily's disappearance. To create suspicion against Emily, Stephen hides a pair of Marjorie's earrings and she later reports them missing. Weeks later, John's housekeeper, Flora Bantam, repeats the rumor that Emily stole the earrings before quitting and leaving town. In town, John sees a display in a bookstore window featuring Stephen's new novel, Night Laughter , a thinly veiled account of Emily's murder. Later, Mrs. Bantam phones John at the office and asks him to ... +


In the 1890s, in the back garden of his elegant Victorian house on the banks of a river, unsuccessful novelist Stephen Byrne struggles with his latest manuscript. When the maid, Emily Gaunt, asks Stephen for permission to use the upstairs bath, he blithely agrees as his wife Marjorie has gone out. Emily finishes her bath, borrows one of Marjorie's bathrobes and begins down the dark stairwell. From his place in the shadows, Stephen suddenly emerges and begins kissing Emily. When Emily begins to scream, Stephen notices that his gossipy neighbor, Mrs. Ambrose, has wandered close to the front door. Fearing a scandal, Stephen grabs Emily's throat to prevent her from screaming, but strangles her instead. A few minutes later, Stephen's lame brother John arrives, and Stephen begs him for help. Together, they wrap the body in an old wood sack and dump it into the flood-prone river. That evening, at a party hosted by socialite Mrs. Whittaker, John watches with disgust as Stephen amuses the guests with his drunken merriment. By the time Stephen and Marjorie, who is pregnant, return from the party, their housekeeper, Mrs. Beach, has already informed the police of Emily's disappearance. To create suspicion against Emily, Stephen hides a pair of Marjorie's earrings and she later reports them missing. Weeks later, John's housekeeper, Flora Bantam, repeats the rumor that Emily stole the earrings before quitting and leaving town. In town, John sees a display in a bookstore window featuring Stephen's new novel, Night Laughter , a thinly veiled account of Emily's murder. Later, Mrs. Bantam phones John at the office and asks him to retrieve the wood sack that he lent to Stephen. Realizing that she is referring to the sack in which they wrapped Emily's body, John gives her an excuse. Then Mrs. Bantam tells John that before he lent the sack to Stephen, she had his name stenciled on it. Sometime later, after Mrs. Ambrose spots the sack floating in the river, Stephen frantically boards his rowboat and chases after it. The sack floats away, however, and the next day, when police inspector Sarten visits his house holding the sack in his hand, Stephen tells him that it was stolen from his shed. When the case goes to court, Marjorie testifies that around the time of Emily's disappearance, she noticed that a pair of earrings had been taken. The next witness, Mrs. Bantam, testifies that after Emily's disappearance, John became so irritable that she was forced to leave his employment. Later, because of the evidence mounting against him, Marjorie fears that John may try to commit suicide. She begs Stephen to speak with him, and the brothers meet at the boat launch. There, Stephen tells John that the notoriety of Emily's murder has turned his novel into a bestseller. Fearing that his brother will reveal their secret, Stephen beats John with a section of heavy chain link, dumps his unconscious body into the river and returns home to begin work on Death in the River . When Stephen calmly tells Marjorie that he was unable to prevent John's suicide, she realizes that her own life is in danger. Just then, John arrives, still dripping water from the river, and Stephen believes that he is seeing John's ghost. Stephen is so terrified that he becomes tangled in a heavy curtain at the top of the stairs and falls to his death below. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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