House By the River (1950) - Rotten Tomatoes

House By the River (1950)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Fritz Lang was the guiding hand of this laudable Republic Studios melodrama. Louis Hayward stars as a wealthy wastrel who tries to seduce the family maid. She resists, and he kills her. Long jealous of his brother Lee Bowman, Hayward does his best to pin the blame for the murder on his sibling. Also affected by Hayward's arrogant dementia is his long-suffering wife Jane Wyatt. Originally, director Lang had proposed that the unfortunate maid be a black woman, and that the killing take place accidentally during some harmless flirtation on Hayward's part. He was vetoed by the timorous Republic staff (even the slightest hint of miscegenation was taboo in 1950), but House by the River turned out pretty well all the same.

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Louis Hayward
as Stephen Byrne
Jane Wyatt
as Marjorie Byrne
Lee Bowman
as John Byrne
Dorothy Patrick
as Emily Gaunt
Ann Shoemaker
as Mrs. Ambrose
Jo Gilbert
as Flora Bantam
Jody Gilbert
as Flora Bantam
Peter Brocco
as Coroner
Howland Chamberlain
as District Attorney
Howland Chamberlin
as District Attorney
Margaret Seddon
as Mrs. Whittaker
Sarah Padden
as Mrs. Beach
Kathleen Freeman
as Effie Ferguson
Will Wright
as Inspector Sarten
Leslie Kimmell
as Mr. Gaunt
Effie Laird
as Mrs. Gaunt
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Critic Reviews for House By the River

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (6)

The whole picture has been hammed up until it would be funny if it wasn't so unbearably dull.

September 14, 2021 | Full Review…

Its 85 minutes stuffed with shadowy menace, odd magical-realisms (what is it with the jumping fish?), and effortless tension, House by the River is quintessential Lang.

October 15, 2014

House by the River is a fair mystery which lacks sufficient plot twists and suspense.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

It's a bleak, gloomy film, one in which the psychological undercurrents seem to be flooding over the banks, drowning any fleeting vestige of rationality in a perverse Teutonic romanticism.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Full of Victorian adornments, shadowy lighting and morbid moods, it is a desperate attempt to raise goose-flesh with a standard horror-psychological plot.

March 25, 2006 | Full Review…

Lang builds the film's routine melodrama into a snappy commentary on moral depravity and eye-for-an-eye retribution.

December 7, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for House By the River

"House by the River" is another one of those movies that never answers the oh-so-important question of 'Why should we care?' It's about as boring as you can imagine, underacted and sluggishly scripted. Fritz Lang is a director that I tend to rank above others from his era, but here he just misses the mark.

Stephen Earnest
Stephen Earnest

Super Reviewer

I really enjoyed this melodramatic gothic mystery tale. There aren't many big stars in it, but everyone does a good job. It's exciting and has romance, a lot of drama, and even some laughs. This is a very interesting movie, more like the 40s than 50s, actually. I recommend it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


little seen and low budget gothic thriller with louis hayward in a standout performance as a would be novelist and all around sleaze who accidentally kills his maid while making advances to her. instead of reporting it, he talks his reluctant brother into helping him dump the body in the river. big mistake. the film is very entertaining but could've been stronger if lang had been allowed to make the servant black i think. cinematography is grand with long shots down dark corridors and spooky scenes of the river at night. well worth a look

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

House By the River Quotes

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