George Raft stars as Steve Larwitt, a New York nightclub owner who, fueled by a greed to impress his new wife, Brenda Bentley (Joan Bennett), begins a rampant and ruthless rise to the top of the crime world. But when his rivals and the IRS come after him, Raft finds his life and liberty in danger. Brenda cuts a deal with Larwitt's attorney, who has persuaded her that the safest place for Larwitt is prison. But the attorney, who is himself in love with Brenda, double crosses both of them and has Larwitt sent to Alcatraz for a decade. Brenda moves to San Francisco with the intention of helping Lawritt through the sentence, but the lawyer, who Brenda has rejected, has more devilish plans in mind for Larwitt and Brenda. This suspense thriller rides on the fine performances of Raft and Bennett, and the deft direction of Archie Mayo.
Alfred Hitchcock shot some scenes involving actors Walter Pidgeon and Joan Bennett in a plane. Many have speculated that he did this as a favor to the film's producer Walter Wanger, with whom Hitchcock had worked on Foreign Correspondent (1940).
Trivia: Joan Bennett plays a chanteuse. Her first song is a la Carmen Miranda and involves her Chihuahua. George Raft actually has a relatively small role, though he gets top billing. Bennett is the focus. Lloyd Nolan plays a sleazy lawyer. Walter Pidgeon is an entrepreneur who falls for Bennett.
The House Across the Bay was written by Mules Connolly and Kathryn Scola. Produced by Walter Wanger. Directed by Archie Mayo, with assistance from Alfred Hitchcock. Also features Gladys George, Billy Wayne, June Knight, Peggy Shannon, Cy Kendall, Max Wagner, Frank Bruno and Joe Sawyer. Score and Musical Direction by Werner Janssen.
While Alfred Hitchcock's contribution to The House Across the Bay was nominal by any measure, it serves to complete serious Hitchcock collections. 1940 Walter Wanger Productions. 83 minutes. DVD $19.99. US shipping $1 first class. International us$3. This Hitchcockian classic is traded collector to collector. It is in the Public Domain. The seller does not own rights to this movie and none are transferred or implied.