The House Across the Lake Film Details
Overview: An American writer living in England gets entangled in a scheme by a beautiful blonde to murder her rich husband.
Review: 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.
Country: United Kingdom
Duration: 68 min
Genre: Crime, Drama
Also known as: Kuolemanjärven mysteerio,Heat Wave,The House Across the Lake