28 August 2013 | hitchcockthelegend
Carol's in love with Carol!
The House Across the Lake (AKA: Heat Wave) is directed by Ken Hughes and he also adapts the screenplay from his own novel High Wray. It stars Alex Nicol, Hillary Brooke, Sid James, Susan Stephen and Paul Carpenter. Music is by Ivor Slaney and cinematography by Walter J. Harvey.
American novelist Mark Kendrick (Nicol) is living in England and trying to finish his latest novel. When he is invited for drinks at the house across the lake, Mark becomes entangled in the web of a beautiful blonde...
OK! This plot is hardly new and film noir boasts some truly excellent pictures where a man is duped into a downward spiral by a femme fatale vixen. In that respect, this Hammer Film Production can't compete, either in production value or quality of narrative, yet this is still worthy of inspection by the film noir faithful.
Nicol's (looking like a poor man's Sterling Hayden) Mark Kendrick and Brooke's Carol Forrest are classic noir characters, he tells us his weakness is women, his constant narration sombre and hapless, she's an icy cold bitch of considerable sting. And with Sid James moping around forlornly as the rich husband who is ill of health and broken of heart, the characterisations are vibrant and performed to a good standard to draw us into the play.
The air is ripe with pungent pessimism, we know from the off that Mark is in trouble, and sure enough the tale contains treachery, death and moral murkiness. Unfortunately the visuals don't quite match the mood of plotting. The lakeside shots are well done, and Kendrick's cottage with the venetian blinds briefly offer up some promise of noirish disharmony, but mostly the picture is filmed in standard black and white and a trick is missed to elevate the piece to better heights.
Visual missed chances aside, this is a good low budget Brit noir that gets in and does the job well. 7/10