The House Across the Bay

HouseAcrossBaySuggested by Brad Nelson • A fast-paced tale of blackmail, betrayal, and revenge. When New York City nightclub owner Steve Larwitt (George Raft) becomes the target of rival racketeers, his wife Brenda is convinced he would be safer in jail.
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2 Responses to The House Across the Bay

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    For those who like the warm (black and white) glow of old movies, this old one has a surprisingly good story that moves along well.

    As of 2/26/15, this is streaming on Netflix. And it might be somewhat difficult to find (for a good price) otherwise. But it’s worth digging up if you can.

    I haven’t watched a lot of George Raft movies, but he is regarded as a true heavyweight in the crime genera. Interestingly, he turned down “High Sierra” to make this film. Humphrey Bogart got the role instead. Raft, perhaps not the best judge of scripts, also turned down the lead for “Casablanca” and “The Maltese Falcon.” Another way to look at this is that Raft did us a great favor. Bogart made these movies classics.

    “The House Across the Bay” is a minor classic at best. But it’s a fun ride through the underworld. Lloyd Nolan is particularly noteworthy as Raft’s crooked lawyer. Walter Pidgeon plays Walter Pidgeon in a fairly thin character. But some of the rough edges of this movie are part of its charm. And being able to appreciate such movies I would imagine is becoming a lost art. People now expect explosions galore, f-bombs everywhere, and amazing special effects.

    Raft is good in this as the rather harmless crook who is even somewhat likable. Joan Bennett does a couple musical numbers that I found to be a bit kitsch but (again) were elevated to black-and-white glory because of this. She’s singing and dancing while holding a chihuahua on a leash. What’s not to like? And I don’t know who came first, Hedley Lamarr (that’s Hedy) or Joan Bennett, but they have much the same look. Both are gorgeous and neither is going to be confused with Katherine Hepburn in the acting department.

    There are a few twists and turns, nothing completely predictable. And the movie cliches are set on low. This is a fairly good story — if you like old movies.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I recall reading that a New York mobster (don’t remember which, sadly) modeled his behavior as a hood on George Raft’s movie performances as a tough guy.

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