Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Hillary Brooke and Alex Nicol
HEATWAVE (aka The House Across the Lake/1954). Writer/director: Ken Hughes.

"Carol's in love with Carol."

Mark Kendrick (Alex Nicol) is an American writer in England who is trying to start his latest novel, but is distracted by a neighbor across the lake, the beautiful Carol Forrest (Hillary Brooke). Carol carries on her love life as if she weren't married to her wealthy husband, Beverly (Sidney James), a suffering millionaire with a heart condition. Carol adds an initially resistant Mark to her trophies and suggests that it might be nice if Beverly could kick off sooner than later ... Ken Hughes not only directed this entertaining, if minor, film noir but wrote the screenplay from his own novel. With all of the standard elements -- weak hero, duplicitous female (the strongest person in the movie), rich, equally weak husband and so on -- it still manages to hold the attention. One surprise is how good Brooke is as the femme fatale. James [Carry on Cruising] and Nicol [Because of You] are also good, although Nicol perhaps underplays a bit too much considering everything his character is going through. Heatwave is at times illogical, with Carol acting as if she thinks Mark has her over a barrel when she can always fall back on the old "he said/she said" and get a good lawyer. This was a co-production of the American Lippert pictures with the famous pre-horror Hammer studios. Ken Hughes also helmed Wicked As They Come with Arlene Dahl as the femme fatale.

Verdict: Absorbing, if lower case, film noir. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Have never even heard of Hillary Brooke but your review makes me want to see her performance as Carol - you know how I lOVE strong women!!

William said...

And this gal is merciless, LOL! Hillary Brooke was a very busy "B" movie actress who even worked with Charles Laughton -- in "Abbott and Costello meet Captain Kidd!" It's funny to think of Laughton with A & C, let alone Hillary Brooke! She was also on "My Little Margie" and in some Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone. Usually she was just mediocre, but she was actually quite good in "Heatwave." Who knew?