Heat Wave (1954)

Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama

Heat Wave (1954) Poster

An American writer living in England gets entangled in a scheme by a beautiful blonde to murder her rich husband.


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28 August 2018 | matthewmercy
| OK British 'We could kill him and keep the money for ourselves' drama...
A good little Hammer / Exclusive B-movie from 1954, THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE is essentially a Home Counties-set variation on the DOUBLE INDEMNITY / THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE theme, with Alex Nicol's 'not a bad bloke really' American writer ending up in a bit of a pickle when he (somewhat illogically) ends up in a destructive affair with Hillary Brooke, a high maintenance, high-end slapper married to terminally ill businessman Sidney James...

By far the best thing about the film, James is uncharacteristically sombre as an unhappy man who knows his wife is a selfish, knicker-dropping horrorshow but is simply too worn out and resigned to the situation to do anything about it. Brooke's character, meanwhile, is such a venal, serial-cheating 'penis flytrap' that it actually damages the plot of the movie; despite his self-proclaimed 'weakness for women', it doesn't convince that Nicol would chuck away his genuine friendship with James just to get his leg over with the consistently nasty Brooke, let alone stick by her when the truly dangerous aspects of her character start to show through. CARRY ON NURSE's Susan Stephen has a sympathetic supporting part as James' appalled daughter, whilst the usually brilliant Alan Wheatley gets far too little to work with in the obligatory 'John Williams in DIAL M FOR MURDER' snooping police inspector role. Largely well scripted from director Ken Hughes' own novel, it perhaps could have used a bit more 'oomph' at the close, whilst the ridiculous portrayal of the neighbouring Yahoos is from the "What-ho!" / "By Jove!" / "Jolly good show!" PG Wodehouse school and feels about 20 years out-of-date; but for some excellent directorial flourishes and James' top-notch performance it is well worth seeing.

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