Back in November last year, Hammer Films and Network Distributing announced the creation of Hammer Studios, a partnership to develop new projects and manage the back catalogue of Hammer-owned titles.
The vast majority of the ‘Hammer horror’ films are, as I understand it, in the hands of other studios and distributors, so I’d expected attention to be given to the studio’s earliest and latest output in its ‘classic’ era, ie, before and after the company’s deals with major studios such as Universal, Fox, Columbia and Warner Bros. It’s a delight, therefore, to see that the Hammer noir The House Across the Lake (aka Heat Wave, 1954) has been singled out for a newly remastered, high-definition Blu-ray release.
The House Across the Lake will be presented in its original 1.37:1 (Academy) ratio and in 1080p. Extras announced include The Drayton Case, a short film in the Scotland Yard series by House director Ken Hughes; an interview with late script supervisor/’continuity girl’ Renée Glynne; The Dame Wore Tweed, a short doc on British noir by Barry Forshaw; alternate titles sequence; theatrical trailer; image gallery; and a limited edition booklet by Neil Sinyard.
Fairly typical of the sort of crime drama Hammer’s sister company Exclusive was producing in this era, House teams up two American stars with a mostly British supporting cast. The leads came courtesy of co-producer Robert Lippert, and would help to market the film in the US. Alex Nicol and Hillary Brooke are the imports, with Sid James in support. Later in his career he would be associated almost exclusively with comedy, especially the Pinewood-made Carry On film series, but at this stage he did a lot of straight acting and was something of a Hammer regular—he made seven appearances between The Man in Black (1950) and A Weekend with Lulu (1961).
The 13 June 2022 release comes as a single Region B disc, with RRP of £17.99, and you can pre-order directly from Network for £11.50.