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This was one of two dozen Walter Wanger films re-released theatrically in the 1940s by Masterpiece Productions, and ultimately sold by them for USA television syndication in 1950. It was first telecast in New York City on WCBS Saturday 19 August 1950. See more »
Steve Larwitt loves me too. The one thing in his life that stops him going to pieces is me. I just can't let him down.
No, you can't...
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While Warner Brothers had nothing for George Raft to do they lent him in 1940 to Walter Wanger for an independent production that Wanger released through United Artists, The House Across The Bay. The bay is San Francisco Bay and the house is an apartment that Joan Bennett takes on Telegraph Hill that faces Alcatraz where Raft is incarcerated for what Al Capone was also there for, income tax evasion. Bennett still wants to feel somewhat connected to her man out on the island in the bay.
Right around this time Raft made the first of several career blunders in turning down some pretty good films, in this case it was High Sierra which certainly gave Humphrey Bogart a boost. So instead of doing High Sierra, Raft wound up in this rather unbelievable film.
For a guy who was supposed to be a smart gangster George Raft is one incredible fool in this one. He meets and marries Joan Bennett who was an entertainer at one of his clubs. When Raft gets shot at by some business competitors, he allows himself to take some lawyerly and wifely advice from Bennett and his lawyer Lloyd Nolan. Of course Nolan has an agenda all his own which not only includes taking Bennett from Raft, but also his money. Nolan tanks the defense and Raft winds up with ten years on the Rock for income tax evasion. I'm sure he and Al Capone must have commiserated some while there.
Bennett is loyal and true blue, but she's feeling a bit antsy and also attracted to aircraft manufacturer Walter Pidgeon whom she meets by accident. After that the plot takes some unbelievable turns.
Joan Bennett and her husband Walter Wanger were friends of George Raft, The House Across The Bay in fact was the third of four films she did with him. She also wrote the forward to George Raft's biography, The George Raft File. She described Raft as moody and temperamental and trying to break away from his gangster persona. This sure wasn't the film to do it. But that he was also a polished gentleman and proud of the fact he'd raised himself to stardom after a childhood in Hell's Kitchen in New York. She also said he was a marvelous dancer and that when Wanger and she were out on the town and met Raft at some nightclub, he would always ask Wanger for a dance with his wife. A good idea since Wanger later shot someone paying attention to Joan Bennett.
According to Bennett, Raft did walk off the film, but later did come back only to find that director Archie Mayo also walked off it just before shooting the finale. Alfred Hitchcock came in and shot the last scene with no credit as a favor.
Bennett and Raft and in fact all the cast have seen better days. They look bored with the film and Pidgeon loaned out from MGM as Raft was from Warner Brothers has little to do, but be a noble pal to Bennett. Lloyd Nolan always is good even in the worst films and Gladys George as the unofficial chairperson of a fraternity of visiting Alcatraz women is outstanding in the film. She's another one who always is.
Raft turned down High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca all at Warner Brothers and instead wound up doing this. Well at least Humphrey Bogart made out fine in the deal.
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