10 January 2007 | claudio_carvalho
One of the Most Despicable Characters I Have Ever Seen
The unsuccessful writer Stephen Byrne (Louis Hayward) tries to force his servant Emily Gaunt (Dorothy Patrick) sexually while his wife Marjorie Byrne (Jane Wyatt) is visiting a friend and accidentally strangles her. His crippled brother John Byrne (Lee Bowman) coincidently comes to his house in that moment, and Stephen asks him to help to get rid of the corpse and avoid an scandal, since his wife would be pregnant. The naive and good John helps his brother to dump the body in the river nearby his house. Stephen uses the disappearance of Emily to blame her and promote his book. When the body is found by the police, all the evidences points to John, and he becomes the prime suspect of the murder.
"House by the River" is a dark and tense movie with one of the most despicable characters I have ever seen. Louis Hayward is perfect in the role of a scum, capable of killing, defaming, lying, falsely accusing, and maintaining cold blood. Jane Wyatt and Lee Bowman complete the efficient trio of lead cast. Fritz Lang uses with mastery the shadows and lights in the black and white cinematography as usual. The story is very tense, but the conclusion is very abrupt and quite conventional, moralist and commercial. In my opinion, this excellent film deserved a darker and amoral ending to become another masterpiece of this outstanding director. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Maldição" ("Curse")