House by the River (1950)

“Enticing Blonde Beauty Lures Lover’s Straying Eyes …” Billed as “Fritz Lang’s Gothic Mystery,” this enjoyable low-budget film noir was released by Republic Pictures and features Louis Hayward as Stephen Byrne, a wealthy (and psychotic!) Victorian-era novelist who kills his housekeeper, Emily Gaunt (Dorothy Patrick), after she refuses his drunken advances. With the help of his disabled brother, John (Lee Bowman), Stephen dumps her body into the river and then this depraved lowlife actually uses the publicity of her disappearance to fuel his book sales! Meanwhile, Paul and Stephen’s wife Marjorie (Jane Wyatt, best known as “Margaret Anderson” from the Father Knows Best TV series) start to fall in love and the police try to crack the case. Jody Gilbert (as John’s housekeeper Flora Bantam) rounds out the cast (no pun intended!). Nice, atmospheric film boasts beautiful cinematography. Known as the “Master of Darkness,” Lang directed such film classics as Metropolis (1927), M (1931), The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) Scarlet Street (1945), Rancho Notorious (1952), The Big Heat (1953) and many others.

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