The House in the Woods on DVD

Monday, 31 March 2014 09:01 Written by 

House in the Woods - Out on DVD from NetworkThis is a concise mystery-thriller starring Michael Gough (Alfred in Burton’s “Batman”, the Celestial Toymaker from classic Doctor Who) as Geoffrey Carter, an unsociable novelist who is struggling to find his muse in a city apartment where the friendly, invasive neighbours never seem to stop partying. Geoff and his wife Carol (Patricia Roc – “Millions Like Us”) see an advert for a isolated cottage and drive into the country to see if it is the remedy the writer seeks.

The owner of the cottage, Spencer Rowland (Ronald Howard - Sherlock Holmes, “The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb”) is amazingly affable and accommodating, and offers the property to the Carters for peanuts. He suggests they move in right away, and promises to get out of their hair as soon as the rental agreement has been written up. Everything is going swimmingly until Geoff starts to suspect that their host is not quite as genuine as he appears.

At a slight duration of only 59 minutes, this film rockets along. The plot unravels with no shilly-shallying, and yet it does so in such a way that some atmosphere is allowed to build. Essentially a three-hander between the main cast, the relationships ebb and flow fairly predictably whilst maintaining some intrigue as to how events will unfold.

Whilst it seems like Roc is occasionally sleepwalking through the film, Gough is charming as the novelist who, having overcome his writer's block, becomes increasingly questioning of Spencer's background and motives. Howland is equally good, being smooth and winning whilst also having an undercurrent of menace.

Released as part of Network's five year mission (where have I heard that before?!) to distribute 450 vintage British films, the feature is released with a brand new picture transfer, and the visuals are certainly stable and decent. However, Network acknowledges that there are some issues with the sound. There is a persistent hiss, and it occasionally gets so bad that I had to rewind the film several times to try to make out what was being said. Thankfully this does not spoil the movie, partly because there is little room for misinterpreting the broad brushstrokes of what is going on.

There are no special features on the disc, but even so I would say it is perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon, especially if one of today's three-hour epics does not fit the bill.

"The House in the Woods" (1957) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Network. The main feature has a running time of 59 minutes approx, carries a ‘PG’ certificate and retails for £9.99, or less from

Last modified on Monday, 31 March 2014 10:10

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