House by the River (1950)

88 mins | Film noir | 25 March 1950

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writer:

Mel Dinelli

Producer:

Howard Welsch

Cinematographer:

Edward Cronjager

Editor:

Arthur Hilton

Production Designer:

Boris Leven

Production Company:

Fidelity Pictures, Inc.
Full page view
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 editor. ...

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.

Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Apr 1950
---
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1950
p. 56
Film Daily
4 Apr 1950
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 1949
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 1950
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Apr 1950
p. 246
New York Times
2 May 1950
p. 25
Variety
29 Mar 1950
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
Arthur D. Hilton
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
R. Dale Butts
Orch
SOUND
Dick Tyler
Sd
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).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Floodtide
Release Date:
25 March 1950
Production Date:
early Jun--early Jul 1949
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Republic Pictures Corp.
23 May 1950
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
Passed by NBR:
Yes
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 ...

More Less

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.

Less

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

TOP SEARCHES

Cape Fear

The film is bookended by scenes in which “Danielle Bowden” recites a reminiscence of the incident at Cape Fear that she wrote for a school assignment.
       A 31 Jul ... >>

Tokyo Joe

According to a 10 Dec 1948 HR news item, 2d unit director Art Black and cameramen Joseph Biroc and Emil Oster, Jr. shot 40,000 feet of background ... >>

Zoot Suit

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Anjuli M. Singh, an independent ... >>

The Princess Bride

The synopsis and history for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Synopsis and history were written by Fitrah Hamid, a student at Georgia ... >>

Frankenstein

Screen credits list "The Monster" as played by "?" in the opening cast list. The "?" is replaced by Boris Karloff's name in the end credits. Mary Shelley's ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.