House by the River

Synopsis: The unsuccessful writer Stephen Byrne tries to force his servant Emily Gaunt sexually while his wife Marjorie Byrne is visiting a friend and accidentally strangles her. His crippled brother John Byrne coincidently comes to his house in that moment, and Stephen asks him to help to get rid of the corpse and avoid an scandal, since his wife would be pregnant. The naive and good John helps his brother to dump the body in the river nearby his house. Stephen uses the disappearance of Emily to blame her and promote his book. When the body is found by the police, all the evidences points to John, and he becomes the prime suspect of the murder.
Director(s): Fritz Lang
Production: Republic
Rotten Tomatoes:
83 min

I hate this river.

What's the trouble, Mrs Ambrose?

Oh that things floated by again, Stephen.

In with one tide, out with the other.

Why, I'm sick of it.

Don't get upset, Mrs Ambrose.

It's due to sink any day now.

Why don't the authorities

do something about it?

They know that the tides cause the

same filth to wash back and forth.

Back and forth.

Oh, I tell you I hate this river.

It's people who should be blamed

for the filth, not the river.

The mail just arrived, Mr Byrne.

Put it on the table please.

Looks like a manuscript.

My manuscripts are like

the tide out there.

They always come back.

Maybe they wouldn't if

you took my advice.

Spice 'em up. Make 'em racy.

That's what the public wants.

What is it, Emily?

Well, it's just that it's getting

awfully late Mr Byrne

and the plumber hasn't arrived

to fix the downstairs tub.

Well, if he hasn't come by now he

probably isn't coming by at all today.

Use the upstairs one if you like.

- Thank you, sir.

How does your wife like

the new maid, Stephen?

Very well I think.

- Good.

Where is Marjorie by the way?

I haven't seen her all day.

She's spending the day with

the Lawlers, in the country.

That's nice. Did she say

when she'd be back?

Only in time to dress for Miss

Whittaker's party. -Good heavens!

Why I better go and finish my gardening,

so that I could start to get ready.

I've still millions of

things to do out here.


Oh, Mr Byrne. It's you.

You frightened me.

Did I?

I thought you were still in the garden.

Did you?

I left everything nice and tidy for...

Mrs Byrne.

Did you?

Mr Byrne, please let me by.

Of course.

Nice perfume you use, Emily.

No Mr Byrne. You're hurting me!

- Emily!

You've been drinking.

Let me go! -Did you happen to tell my wife that you've been digging into her perfume?

I don't care! Let me go! Let me go!

- Emily.

Let me go! Let me go! Let me go!

Shut up! Stop it. Do you want the

whole neighborhood to hear you?

Pull yourself together

and I'll let you go.

That's better.

All we needed was that

old gossip to hear us.



Emily! Emily!

Merciful God!

Hello, Stephen. I tried the

front door but... -John!

Thank heaven it's you.

Well, what's happened?

There's been an accident.


No, the new maid Emily. She fell.

Let me look at her.

- No! I...

Stephen, what's the matter with you?

Have you sent for a doctor?

- No. There's nothing anybody could do.

She fell down the stairs, she hit

her head. They'll blame me!

Why should anybody blame you?

Well... because I was playing a fool,

pretending I was going to kiss her.

She got frightened and something happened.

I don't know what exactly but of course

they'll blame me! -Stephen, stop it!

Let me look at her.

This girl didn't fall.

- She did. I saw her.

She was strangled!

- It was an accident I tell you!

I scarcely touched her. I hardly put my

hands to her to prevent her screaming.

You don't know how quickly it

happened, John. You don't know!

Where are you going?

For the police.

- You can't. You're my brother!

I've gotten you out of a lot

of nasty scrapes, Stephen.

But this is murder.

John don't let me down.

You've always helped me.

You can't do that to your own brother.

Please, you have to help me.

Please, John! Please!



I can't go through with this.

You promised to stay up there!

Listen to me.

The only thing to do

is to go to the police.

Tell them exactly how it happened.

It was an accident.

But they'll never believe me.

Even you don't believe me.

Do you?

I don't know what to believe.

I only know that I'm

not going to help you.

For once you're going to get

out of this thing by yourself.

John if you won't do this for me,

do it for Marjorie. For her sake.

Did you know that Marjorie went into

town today, to see the doctor?

Is she ill?

She's going to have a baby.

Now can you understand why I must get

out of this, why you must help me?


I suppose I must.

Good. Now go back and warn

me if anyone comes.


Wait a minute!

It'll soon be over, John.

She'll soon be in the river

and it'll all be forgotten.


- Yes. Yes. I mean for the time being.

We weight it, and take it way

out, were it'll stay sunk.



Marjorie, is that you out there?

No, it's me, Mrs Ambrose.

- Oh, it's you Stephen.

Stay down. I'll get rid of her.

Is Marjorie back yet?

- No. Not yet, Mrs Ambrose.

I wanted to ask her what

she's going to wear tonight.

I thought of my best black.

But still, no, it's never very

dressy at the Whittaker's.

Well, she'll be home

before long, Mrs Ambrose.

My, she stayed late, didn't she?

Well, of course the Lawlers are

always hard to get away from.

Maybe she missed her train?

I'm not worried, she'll be here soon.

Well, ask her to drop in for a moment

if she has time, will you Stephen?

Yes I'll do that. I must go in now.

I have to get ready myself.

I'll see you at the party

then. Until later

I thought the old hag would never leave.

I thought you said Marjorie went

to the doctor's today? -She did.

Mrs Ambrose said she

went to the Lawler's.

She went both places.

- The Lawlers live in the country

If she went there that means she spent

the day -I think she went to the doctor's!

Now stop quibbling and help.

A scandal would ruin all of us.

We have more people to consider

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Mel Dinelli

Mel Dinelli (born 6 October 1912, Albuquerque, New Mexico - d. 28 November 1991, Los Angeles, California) was an American writer for theatre, radio, film and magazines, usually in the suspense genre. He attended the University of Washington. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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