User Reviews (20)

Add a Review

  • Released in the US by Lippert as "Heat Wave", The House Across The Lake (actually a more accurate title, although Heat Wave suggests some of Hillary Brooke's smoldering sensuality!) is yet another film owing a debt to both Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. American Alex Nicol stars as a heavy-drinking writer who lives across the lake from Hillary Brooke, a scheming Black Widow temptress who teases various men she meets while being married to a wealthy but distant husband (yes, all the cliches are here, but they play well!). Needless to say, Nicol begins a friendship with the husband while falling for the ravishing Ms. Brooke, and any lover of noir thrillers can probably predict the way the film develops. Still, it is well-played by the leads and by the British supporting cast, and Mr. Nicol convincingly portrays a man beaten-down by life, who is brought to the point where he has nothing to lose. I won't give away the ending, but it seems somewhat of a surprise while it is happening, which is what a good mystery should do, even if it is constructed from well-known plot elements of the genre. If you like post-war B&W noir-tinged mysteries of this type, it's a good way to spend 85 minutes on a rainy day--and another opportunity to re-acquaint yourselves with the two underrated American stars, Alex Nicol and Hillary Brooke (fans of Ms. Brooke should check out the early 50s gem CONFIDENCE GIRL, co-starring Tom Conway, for a real Hillary Brooke tour-de-force).
  • In 1950, American producer Robert Lippert formed a business alliance with Hammer studios. Under the agreement, Lippert would provide American acting talent - frequently shop-worn stars or just supporting actors who fancied a profitable trip out of the country - while Hammer would supply the rest of the cast and the production facilities. Together they would split the profits. Famous for his concern with the bottom line, Lippert produced over 140 films between 1946 and 1955, characteristically genre pieces such as I Shot Jesse James or Rocketship XM. For the British deal, most of the films were noir-ish thrillers - and include this title.

    Sidney James, a regular in this run of productions, appears in House Across The Lake. He plays successfully against type for once, as a millionaire in possession of a straying wife. Directed by Ken Hughes from his own novel, and who a year later also directed another highlight of James' career in Joe Macbeth (1955), as well as later Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) this taut, entirely successful noir thriller is one of the highlights of the Lippert-Hammer noir series (another is The Glass Cage - both available on DVD). A down-and-out writer (Alex Nichol) is invited across the lake to a rich household where he is naturally soon ensnared by a cunning fatale, leading to a waterborne death and inevitable double cross. Although the lure of sex is not quite as explicit as in The Flanagan Boy, which also appears as part of the Hammer series now reissued, House Across The Lake still manages to suggest perfectly satisfactorily the moral quagmire into which the urges of men lead them as well as an effective noir universe, which includes an extended flashback and, that archetypal device, the rueful voice-over. Recommended.
  • Heat Wave is the American reissue title of a pretty fair British suspense drama, The House Across The Lake. It retraces the eternal noir triangle (adding English angles): Rich but rough-hewn older husband (Sidney James); duplicitous blonde trophy wife (Hillary Brooke); and the chump (Alex Nicol). There's also the optional element of the jealous daughter by the first wife (Susan Stephen), but she doesn't bring much to the tea party.

    Nicol is a pulp novelist who's taken a cottage in the lake country where he sweats, drinks but doesn't make much progress on the page rolled in his typewriter. One night he gets a call from party-central across the water, a posh house called High Wray (the movie is directed by Ken Hughes from his novel of that name). Their launch is down – could Nicol pick up some guests waiting at the club and ferry them up to the house?

    He obliges, gets invited in for a thank-you drink, and meets Brooke, the bored, flirtatious wife; her paramour of the moment, pianist Paul Carpenter (she has a weakness for impoverished artistic types); and, later, the daughter. There are `scenes.' Hack writer or no, Nicol can't have read much James M. Cain or he'd be off to his typewriter in a flash, if not all the way back to the States.

    James has a bum ticker and plans to write Brooke out of the will, but inevitably the inevitable happens: James, Brooke and Nicol go out on a fishing expedition, a heavy fog enshrouds them, there's an `accident.' (Brooke even sports Stanwyck-in-the-supermarket cheaters at the coroner's inquest.) But a police inspector (Alan Wheatley) takes an undue interest in the case....

    Despite a score which quotes Debussy's Le Mer until seasickness ensues, the movie has an American feel to it (due in large part to Americans Nicol and Brooke in the leads, though Brooke's cucumber-sandwich accent would fool Henry Higgins). Its major shortcoming is an abrupt ending which leaves a little too much to be inferred, in an understated British way. Best reason for watching is Brooke, who made her mark in some Sherlock Holmes movies and against Brenda Marshall in Strange Impersonation but never got the parts her talents deserved. Heat Wave is an opportunity to watch what she could do.
  • 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
  • Warning: Spoilers
    THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE is one of the film noirs that Hammer Films regularly made before they hit paydirt with THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN in 1957. It's a low budget movie, filmed at Bray Studios, watchable enough in itself without ever equalling the heights of greatness that Hammer reached once they remodelled themselves as a horror studio.

    The film stars regular American import Alex Nicol, who was no stranger to appearing in British B-fare (A STRANGER IN TOWN and THE GILDED CAGE are two others I've seen in him and he seems to give the same performance in each one). He plays an everyday character, a washed-up and boozy writer who rents a house on the lake and soon becomes involved in the lives of the rich couple living opposite.

    Hillary Brooke is another import, playing the adulterous wife who secretly despises her rich husband. Brooke is an odd choice to the part; slightly too old and difficult to see what men would find so alluring about her, although she excels when playing the nastier side of her character, something Hitchcock noticed when he cast her in THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. The real stand-out is Sid James in a rare non-comedic role as the sympathetic husband, just looking for friendship in a lonely world. James is fantastic, he really is, and he made the film worth watching for me.

    Otherwise, this is predictable stuff, involving love triangles, adultery, and of course the inevitable murder. Other than James, the characters aren't very nice which spoils things a bit, although it's hard to criticise THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE too much as there's nothing intrinsically bad about it; it's just that so many pictures like this was made it threatens to get lost amid the rest.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Never having heard of this one even from the noir "experts" I didn't expect too much but I think it's a very cool little film, very literary in style (writer Ken Hughes was also the director) and full of human weakness and treachery. It's about an American writer of dime novels (like the Joseph Cotten character in "The Third Man") who allows his self-proclaimed weakness for promiscuous blondes to get him involved in a sequence of events that ends in murder. The film was produced by Anthony Hinds for Hammer Films which at that time was largely a distribution house and not a film producing entity, but it also included later Hammer horror big shot Jimmy Sangster as the assistant director.

    The American writer is played by Alex Nicol, who did a very good job in my opinion. He showed real star power and it's a shame that he never really got a chance to star in too many other films. There's a strange hitch in the character, in that he's apparently a very smart and self-aware man who nonetheless allows himself to get into situations that he knows will end up hurting him because of his addiction to a certain kind of sex. He manages to perform in such a smooth way that we never really think too much about the contradictions in his character. The other really notable performance is from Sid James (an Ealing Films alumnus) who's very convincing as the world-weary rich man who's still in love with his cheating wife Carol (Hillary Brooke, who looks a bit like Nina Foch). There's a scene of the two of them drinking bourbon playing billiards that reminds me very much of the scene towards the end of Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut." James is perfect at conveying the character's defensive world-view -- he feels beset by all the many people who come to him for financial help and is glad to have a drinking partner in the writer, Mark, who seems uninterested in money and women. Sadly the truth is that Mark does have a money problem and he does have a sex addiction, but neither of those really interferes with his feelings of friendship and almost brotherhood towards Beverly (James). That gives the movie a lot more texture than it otherwise would have had.

    A lot of the suspense in the movie is based around the question of when and why Beverly will be murdered, for we've already been told in the prelude that he has been killed and that Mark holds Carol responsible. Another interesting aspect is a sort of a red herring that's presented in the person of Beverly's daughter from his first marriage, Andrea (Susan Stephen). She's exactly the type of blonde that Mark should be interested in, but he shows absolute disregard for her from beginning to end of the film.

    I think it's a movie that should be seen more often -- exactly the kind of seedy, low budget affair that's not afraid to be intelligent. You don't see movies like this anymore.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Heat Wave," or "The House Across the Lake" from 1954 is another Hammer Film with its typical set-up - told in flashback - and with a familiar plot - help me kill my husband and we'll be rich.

    Instead of one American, here we have two starring here, Alex Nicol and Hillary Brooke. Hillary Brooke actually sounds English - she took the accent on in order to differentiate herself from other blonds competing for roles. It worked, too - she had supporting roles in many top films in the '40s and later worked in television.

    Nicol plays Mark Kendrick, a writer trying to finish a book and get away from "slow gin and cheap blonds"; when he loans his launch to the people across the lake, he meets the wealthy Beverly Forrest (Sid James) and his promiscuous wife Carol (Brooke). He genuinely likes Beverly, but finds himself falling for Carol. I notice that several people on this site found Brooke irresistible. It's possible men saw something in her that I don't - just an opinion. She reminded me of Joan Fontaine in the '50s, the wealthy, attractive, older socialite. Anyway, he falls for her, and then it looks like her husband fell -- off a boat while the three of them were out for a ride.

    The script is well-written -- as Mark tells his story, he uses a lot of those hard-bitten detective terms such as the one above, giving an old story a little spice.

    One small thing -- when Carol meets him, she says, "oh, you're an American." Anyone who has been to Europe knows that unless you've got your passport in your hand, people normally ask if you're from Canada or the U.S. They can't tell, and Brooke is not playing an American in this film.

    Anyway, this is an entertaining film. The acting was good, though I can't say I was blown away by some of Brooke's acting.
  • Hillary Brooke plays a beautiful woman married to a much older, wealthy man. We've seen the story in film noir before. We've seen it many times.

    But this 1954 picture is well written and exceptionally well cast. Its budget is clearly not high. Yet, the chemistry could blow up a chem lab. Alex Nicol is likable as a hot-tempered writer. He happens to be trying to finish a book right near this wealthy man and his wife.

    The wife is played by Hillary Brooke. She is like Kathleen Turner a few decades before Turner burst on the scene: She's sly, sexual -- and that voice! She has a deep, purring voice that has elements of Tallulah Bankhead in it.

    The film resembles "The Postman Always Rings Twice." Of course, that had a pedigree of its own. The stars were good but not entirely convincing together. Brooke is less beautiful than Lana Turner but she's a more compelling performer.

    And there's "Double Indemnity." It's hard to think of topping that one. Barbara Stanwyck gives a peerless performance in it. So maybe Brooke could be called, at least in this movie, the poor man's Barbara Stanwyck.
  • Alex Nichol and Hillary Brooke were not exactly household names in Hollywood. This is not to say they were unsuccessful. No, they both had many TV and movie appearances to their credit. But they also never quite were leading man and leading lady material. And, like other second and third-tier actors at the time (such as Richard Basehart), they were lured to Europe for starring roles in lesser productions. "Heat Wave" is a lower-budgeted British thriller--and the Brits were happy to have some Americans in the leads as it would increase the marketability of the film. In other words, folks in the States might be more likely to book this in their theaters.

    Mark is sitting at a bar getting drunk when he's approached by someone. He seems to know who it is and buys that person a drink and begins telling his story. It seems he was home alone one evening working on his book when he got a phone call from the folks living across the lake. Although he doens't know them, he's invited to a party they are having. Once there, he sees the lady of the house is a hottie--but also a philandering woman. As for the husband, he's a whipped man and spends most of the evening playing pool with Mark and telling him his marital problems.

    Later in the film, the evil wife, Carol, begins making advances towards Mark. He's clearly turned on by her, but she is bad--and he resists her allure....for a while. Eventually, however, they begin seeing each other and Mark KNOWS it's wrong...but he can't stop. Carol promises he can have her if only her sickly husband was out of the way.

    Does this sound familiar? Well, if you love film noir, you probably recognize this as a reworking of the plot from the classic "Double Indemnity". It's not exactly the same...but darn close. While it lacks originality and is clearly derivative, it IS well acted and has a nice mood overall. Worth seeing even if a bit familiar.

    By the way, cheers to Miss Brooke. She not only played a great femme fatale, but you'd have thought she was British due to her accent. You'd have never guessed that she was American through and through.
  • Surprisingly good for a budget Hammer film. Lacking the tantalising gorgeousness of Rita Hayworth or the star-power of Orson Welles and Everett Sloane in Lady from Shanghai the similarly water-borne and much more likely inspiration, the leads do well and the director/screenwriter keeps things nicely atmospheric. The plot twists are effective. But overall the plot lacks the complexity, novelty and power of Lady from Shanghai and the ending is sudden and perfunctory. And ungallant though it might be to say so, the film's femme fatale it has to be said is mature to the point of being a femme mildly injurious but certainly is not lacking in the dramatic stakes.

    A 6.5 Seen on Talking Pictures TV
  • 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.
  • An American writer (Alex Nicol), down on his luck, meets his rich neighbors who also live by the lake. He befriends the ailing husband (Sid James) and falls in love with the duplicitous wife (Hillary Brooke).

    Ken Hughes directed "The House Across the Lake" (with the irrelevant American title of "Heat Wave") from his own screenplay based on his own novel. I guess he is the only one to blame for the story's blatant rip-off of James M. Cain (particularly "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "Double Indemnity"). But at least he rips off the best, which means this crime thriller is more engaging than most of the films included in VCI's "Hammer Noir" DVD collection.
  • At a time when noir production was converting to TV, Lippert hooked up with England's Hammer Films. (And that's before Hammer hooked up with Dracula and Frankenstein.) Judging from this effort, budget minded Lippert got a lot more bang for their buck overseas.

    Compared with traditional noir, the settings here are much more naturalistic than expressionistic. There's little of the usual menace of light and shadow. Instead, most scenes are shot on location with natural lighting, except for the climactic fog-bound sequence. This undercuts atmosphere and mood, staples of standard noir. As a result, it's the fateful story that's highlighted. And since the story is narrated in flashback, it seems the outcome is pre- determined in some metaphysical sense.

    Sure, you've seen the story before, as others point out. A rich man's slutty wife (Brooke) conspires to kill him with key help from a luckless fall guy (Nicol). Sounds like Double Indemnity (1944) even down to the double-cross. Still, the screenplay is good enough to hold interest. And was there ever a more stately ice queen than Hillary Brooke. It's hard to see her ever unwinding enough for intimacy. And therein lies a problem. Too bad the film couldn't show some stage of real melt from her, like a dash of undress or even mussed-up mascara. Nicol too is pretty low-key for a guy obsessed. But then this is 1954, not exactly the anything goes of more recent vintage. In my book, it's luckless Sidney James who steals the film, with his nicely modulated peek at a doomed man. I like the way the script only later fills in why he's so seemingly indifferent to his wife's very public affairs. That way we're left really curious for a well-timed period.

    Anyhow, the movie's much better than the lowly two-stars out of four that TCM rates it. Then again, maybe I'm just a sucker for any noir with a well-turned ankle.
  • Self-described American "hack novelist" Alex Nicol (as Mark Kendrick) is living in England. Hoping to avoid women and alcohol in order to finish a book, Mr. Nicol rents a small bungalow outside of London. Across the lake from his residence, Nicol observes partying. Very quickly, he joins the celebration and gets drunk. If you're guessing a woman is up next, you're correct. Nicol surprisingly passes over pretty young Susan Stephen (as Andrea Forrest) and succumbs to the advances of her step-mother Hillary Brooke (as Carol). Her wealthy and unhealthy husband Sidney James (as Beverly Forrest) plus a pianist lover aren't enough for Ms. Brooke, apparently...

    This seems like "Double Indemnity" with a dash of "Sunset Boulevard". Director Ken Hughes adapted the screenplay from his own novel, which was undoubtedly more clearly drawn. Nicol and the setting work, and Mr. Hughes moves it quickly. The main characters' sexual relationships are not convincing, however. Throwing in a couple lines indicating Nichol had a brief affair with Ms. Brooke years ago might have helped us believe his attraction, and Ms. Stephen seems too desirable for her role. Most irritating, there is a character inappropriately held responsible for an act of murder, and we're not sure why this person simply doesn't state the facts before the story ends.

    **** The House Across the Lake (4/16/54) Ken Hughes ~ Alex Nicol, Hillary Brooke, Sidney James, Susan Stephen
  • This is one of those Hammer B-Movie Noirs. The Studio made a Handful before it Hit Pay-Dirt and became the House of Horror. The Film-Noir Ingredients in this Darkly Lit and Narrated Story are Pure Pulp and Noir Gold. As Alec Nicol (Mark Kendricks) Pounds away at His Typewriter and Laments about Unpaid Bills and Writer's Bloc, it is the Stuff of Penny-A-Word Prose on Cheap Paper.

    The Audience is Drawn into the World of High Class Blondes (Hillary Brooke) Married to Elderly Men whose "Two step has got a little slow.", and a Down on His Luck Sap, who Will Play One Every Time (except maybe Sam Spade).

    The Tone of this Thing Rings the Noir Bell and it is Low-Budget, but that doesn't really Matter. This one has the Look and Feel of Reel Noir and it is one of the Better in the Series from the British Studio. It's got a Verbal Style, Nicol's Voice is Velvety and Desperate, and that is sure to Please Fans of the Genre.

    Although Film-Noir was beginning to Lose its Edge by 1954, this is Virtually a Copy of the Style from the Forties and it's a welcome Trip Back from the Police Procedural to a more Up Close and Personal Downward Spiral with Fem-Fatales and Guys with Smoky Bourbon Breath.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With Easter coming up,I started looking for DVDs that I could watch with my dad during the holidays. Reading an old issue of British film mag Empire,I found a review for a Film Noir from a pre-Horror Hammer studio that DVD company Network had put out,which led to me swimming across the lake.

    View on the film:

    Whilst they have given much smaller titles great transfers,here Network sadly miss the mark,with the outdoor scenes having a large amount of grain,and the audio needing the volume raised. Swimming just a few years before assistant director Jimmy Sangster & producer Anthony Hinds to shore, writer/director Ken Hughes & cinematographer Walter J. Harvey plant some of the stylisation that was to come, via the speedboat run across the lake having an impending doom atmosphere, and the high walls of the Forrest house giving it the appearance of a haunted mansion.

    Adapting his own book, Ken (future maker of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!) Hughes dips into pulpy Noir unease,as tempting dame Carol Forrest gets lone writer Mark Kendrick to write their own murder-mystery. Going across in 65 min, the limitations of time lead to the ending feeling clipped,and unfulfilled. Headlined by the glamour of US actors Alex Nicol and Hillary Brooke, Sid James takes the wheel with a great performance as Beverly Forrest,that casts a cynical view at the house across the lake.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A struggling writer called Mark Kenrick (Alex Nicol) rents a bungalow overlooking Lake Windermere looking for a quiet spot to work on his new book. But, his peace is shattered by a wild party taking place at the house across the lake, which belongs to the tycoon Beverley Forrest (Sid James) and his glamouress wife Carol (Hillary Brooke). Carol calls Kenrick to ask him if he will collect some of her stranded guests with his launch, which he does and on meeting Carol starts to fall in love with her. Kenrick has fallen way behind with his book and his publishers lose patience and drop him after he sends them three chapters that are well below par. He discovers that Forrest, tired of his wife's numerous affairs but keeps footing the bill for her expensive tastes out of sheer loneliness, plans to cut her off without a penny just as soon as his lawyer returns from America. Forrest has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and only has a year to live at the most and Kenrick is about to discover just how manipulative Carol can be in order to get her way. Forrest takes Kenrick out for a fishing trip and Carol invites herself along too. The lake becomes engulfed in fog and Kenrick has to swerve to avoid a collision with a ferry causing Forrest to fall on deck rendering him unconscious. It is now when Carol suggests that they have the opportunity to push her husband overboard and claim it was an accident so she can inherit his fortune and begin a new life together. Kenrick refuses but Carol pushes him overboard herself when his back is turned. The Coroner duly returns a verdict of accidental death, but Inspector MacClennan (Alan Wheatley) is suspicious of the couple and Carol tells Kenrick that they cannot be seen together for awhile and sends him off to London telling him that she will join him as soon as she has settled her husband's affairs. Months pass and her hears nothing from her so he returns to Keswick to discover that she has married another man. She believes that she has got away with her scheme since for Kenrick to betray her would surely put a noose around his own neck. But does he care anymore?

    The House Across The Lake is best summed up as American film noir, Hammer style. The imported American leads, Nicol and Brooke, offer serviceable performances but are not in the same class as say Fred McMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity. Viewers will notice some similarities between this and that film. Sid James steals the acting honours and is completely credible in his dramatic role even though most are familiar with his numerous Carry On comedies while Alan Wheatley is quite good as the police inspector who isn't satisfied with the Coroner's verdict and keeps pushing and pushing until he gets the truth. The Lake District locations are well used and add to the atmosphere of doom and dark passions while Walter Harvey's camera-work is pretty good at recreating the style of noir pictures. Director Ken Hughes, here working from his own screenplay adapted from his own novel High Wray, gives the feature an 'A' film quality and, thankfully, the build up doesn't drift into predictability as is so often the case with b-pictures.

    All in all, a superior second feature that shows that Hammer were trying for quality even when they were making quickies and before they shot to international fame with the horror films.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ***SPOILERS*** Drowning his troubles in a bottle of scotch at the British Lake Windermere Yacht Club American writer Mark Kendrick, Alex Nicol, spills his guts out to the person, who for the time being shall remain nameless, he meets there about what a fool he was to get involved with icy blond Carol Forrest, Hillary Brooke. It was Carol who manipulated him into doing what he did for her own selfish and murderous interests. That for him to be a pasty in her plans to off her husband Beverely Forrest, Sidney James, and then be left holding the bag as she checked out on Mark with pianist Vincent Gordon,Paul Carpenter.

    This nightmare started of for Mark when he was invited to a party thrown by Carol to help ferry with his motor boat her guests back to shore after it was discovered that the boat that took them there was out of gas. It was later that Mark took the gas-tank in being set up to whack Beverely while on a fishing trip at lake Windermear planned by Carol. What really set Carol off was the discovery that her old man, who knew she only married him for his money, was going to cut her out of his will and thus out of the lifestyle she's been so used to living. Also her step-daughter Andrea, Susan Stephen, saw through her and was also doing everything possible to get her dad Beverely to divorce Carol before she did him him for good.

    ****SPOILERS**** Not realizing that he was being set up Mark together with Carol and Beverly went out on the lake fishing in pea soup thick fog when by avoiding another boat ended up knocking Beverly off the control or watch booth where he busted up his skull and landed unconscious on the deck below. With his back turned and keeping his eye on the steering wheel Carol pushed the unconscious Beverly overboard where he ends up drowning. With Carol who claimed to be in love with him now dumping Mark for the piano player, whom he detested, he just about had all he could take from her and decided to do the right thing. And with that Mark decides to spill the beans of what he did in him being an accomplice, or better yet pasty, in Beverely's murder of her husband. And the person whom he spilled the beans to, as well as buying him a couple of drinks, is the police detective on the case who's been hounding him all throughout the entire movie Inspt.Maclennan, Alan Wheatley.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The unappealing Hillary Brooke plays a femme fatal so obvious, so one dimensional, that you want to see her conquest (Alex Nicol) disposed of, not for murder, but for stupidity. Badly photographed, Brooke is so heavily made up, she ends up looking like Theda Bara in a blonde wig. The opening gives promise to the typical film noir set-up of a down on his luck writer in unbelievable lust for the wife of a wealthy Englishman who befriends him, warning Nicol of his wife's evil tendencies and reveals his intentions to cut her out of his will. Told through flashback, its short running time and cheap look (especially a screenplay filled with trite dialog and obviously written too quickly) make it appear as a TV play. The result is a choppy melodrama with far too many clichés, a stupid hero and a vixen who is about as sexy as your maiden aunt librarian. You'll ask yourself if the script writer and the continuity director were one and the same as more and more elements of falsehood reveal themselves.
  • JohnHowardReid24 December 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    Another excellent VCI DVD features the 1954 "House Across the Lake" (or "Heat Wave"), in which Sidney James gives one of his best dramatic performances, thanks no doubt to the astute direction of Ken Hughes.

    Ken Hughes has adapted his own 1952 novel, "High Wray" (sic - the name of the Forrest mansion or "house"), and skilfully used his real locations and studio sets to convey enough noir atmosphere to overcome the somewhat acute shortage of actual action.

    Of course, the rest of the players led by Hillary Brooke and super-attractive Susan Stephen (with effective cameos by Paul Carpenter - of all people! - and Peter Illing) also help no end.

    The central character, "Mark Kendrick:", is played by Alex Nicol as a bit of a no-hoper, but that's exactly what his persona is supposed to be, so I guess we can't complain on that score!