The House in the Woods Film Details
Overview: The spirit of a murdered woman returns to take her revenge.
Review: When television caused a chill through film studios during the 1950s a few of the smaller ones (like Walton) felt they had nothing to lose by lowering their standards and giving the public a bit of showmanship. So while Walton’s old studios made TV shows like “Robin Hood” and “The Buccaneers”, the first film made at their new one was a creepy little thriller, “The House in the Woods”. Patricia Roc had been a glamour star of the 1940s British cinema who had been given her big chance in Gainsborough’s “When the Bough Breaks” (1947), a searing story about adoption. She popped up in this noirish B as Carol Carter, the social wife of moody author Jeff (Michael Gough) who wants to escape the fly by nights who treat his flat like “Grand Central Station”!! He finds an isolated cottage that the owner is more than happy to rent out to them at two pounds a week. What’s more, he hurries them into it by insisting they move in instantly – during which Jeff realises they haven’t informed anyone of their departure so it’s almost as though they have “disappeared off the face of the earth”!!!! Ronald Howard did start off in A films but by the 1950s his name was synonymus with Bs – he plays the strange artist, Spencer Rowland who stays on with them until the lease agreement comes through and Carol notices similarities between Jeff and Spencer. That’s as far as her astuteness goes, she is lulled into calm and is constantly defending him against Jeff’s mounting suspicions. His doubts stem from a dedication in a book dated two months before (Rowland claims his wife died two years before!!!), being warned away from the wood when he sees that Spencer is often there and shock when the odd painter destroys his late wife’s portrait after it has hung over the fireplace for years. Jeff is also coming up with some lurid ideas for a new book (after critical successes with philosophical works). It is to be a crime thriller about a husband who murders his wife and for a while the viewer wonders if it may come true. The sinister theme music by Larry Adler is the movie’s biggest plus, to me it was shaping up as a ghost story – Spencer wanting to keep them house-bound when they arrived, the beautiful Siamese cat always just in view. But by the end, obviously bowing to 1950s complacency, it finished all neat and tidy.
Duration: 62 min
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Also known as: The House in the Woods