A House Is Not a Home (film)

A House Is Not a Home is a 1964 drama film loosely based on the 1953 autobiography by madam Polly Adler. The film stars Shelley Winters, Robert Taylor, Cesar Romero, and Kaye Ballard. Raquel Welch made her film debut in a small role as a call girl. The song written for the film by Burt Bacharach & Hal David has become a standard.

A House Is Not a Home
Film Poster
Directed byRussell Rouse
Produced byClarence Greene
Written bySteve Jankowski
StarringShelley Winters
Robert Taylor
Cesar Romero
Ralph Taeger
Kaye Ballard
Broderick Crawford
Music byJoseph Weiss
CinematographyHarold E. Stine
Edited byChester W. Schaeffer
Distributed byEmbassy Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • August 12, 1964 (1964-08-12) (San Francisco, California)

  • September 1, 1964 (1964-09-01) (New York)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States


Polly Adler is a poor Polish immigrant who works in a sweatshop. She loses her job after she is sexually assaulted by her boss, for which her housemates blames her. She is then forced to move out.

Her next apartment is in a building owned by Frank Costigan, a gangster. Frank approves of Polly's attractive girlfriends and pays her to have the ladies go out socially with his friends.

One thing leads to another and soon Polly is the madam of a bordello. She has genuine feelings for a musician, Casey Booth, but does not reveal her true occupation to him.

Costigan becomes the top enforcer for mob boss Lucky Luciano and backs Polly's business, which ends up on Park Avenue offering high-class call girls. Casey proposes marriage, so Polly finally confesses what she does for a living. He is willing to overlook it, but Polly feels it is for the best if they part.


Shelley WintersPolly Adler
Robert TaylorFrank Costigan
Cesar RomeroLucky Luciano
Ralph TaegerCasey Booth
Kaye BallardSidonia
Broderick CrawfordHarrigan
Mickey ShaughnessyPolice Sgt. Riordan
Jesse WhiteRafferty
Lisa SeagramMadge
Meri WellesLorraine
Connie GilchristHattie Miller
Constance DaneLaura
Allyson AmesGwen
Lewis CharlesAngelo
Steve PeckVince
Roger C. CarmelDixie Keeler
J. Pat O'MalleyMuldoon
Sandra GrantCall Girl
Raquel WelchCall Girl
Francine PyneRed-Call Girl
Edy WilliamsCall Girl
Charles FredericksBert
Danica d'HondtVicki

Award nominations

Edith Head was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White.

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