The House Across the Bay

The House Across the Bay is a 1940 film directed by Archie Mayo, starring George Raft and Joan Bennett, produced by Walter Wanger, written by Myles Connolly and Kathryn Scola, and released by United Artists. The supporting cast features Lloyd Nolan, Walter Pidgeon and Gladys George.

The House Across the Bay
Directed byArchie Mayo
Alfred Hitchcock (uncredited)
Produced byWalter Wanger
Written byMyles Connolly
Kathryn Scola
StarringGeorge Raft
Joan Bennett
Lloyd Nolan
Walter Pidgeon
Music byWerner Janssen
United Artists
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • March 1, 1940 (1940-03-01)
Running time
88 min.
CountryUnited States
Box office$684,374[1]


A singer (Bennett) waits for an imprisoned gangster (Raft) to be released from Alcatraz.



The film was based on an original story by Myles Connolly. In 1939 it was reported Warner Bros were considering buying it as a vehicle for James Cagney and Marlene Dietrich.[2] They could not come to an agreement and Walter Wanger bought the rights.[3] Wanger made the film as part of what was meant to be a slate of six films for United Artists. Filming was pushed back so Wanger could make Foreign Correspondent.[4]

George Raft was loaned by Warner Bros, dropping out of It All Came True, in which he was replaced by Humphrey Bogart.[5] Walter Pidgeon was borrowed from MGM. Director Archie Mayo was borrowed from Sam Goldwyn. Bennett was under contract to Wanger.[6]

Filming started 16 October 1939.

Some scenes of Pidgeon and Bennett in an airplane were filmed by Alfred Hitchcock as a favor to Wanger, who directed Foreign Correspondent for Wanger the same year.[6]

Bennett and Wanger married after filming completed.[7]


Box office

The film recorded a loss of $101,334.[1] It caused tension between Raft and Warner Bros, to whom he was under long term contract, because in this United Artists film, Raft played a gangster who loses in the end - the sort of role he had refused to play for Warner Bros.[8]


The New York Times called it a "somewhat less than fascinating tale of one of the more glamorous Rock-widows of Alcatraz" which was "old hat and scarcely worth its maker's bother—or yours."[9] The Los Angeles Times thought it was "curiously (and unnecessarily) complicated."[10]


  1. Matthew Bernstein, Walter Wagner: Hollywood Independent, Minnesota Press, 2000 p440
  2. Schallert, E. (1939, Feb 23). MacMurray, carroll together in 'air raid'. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  3. Special to The New York Times. (1939, Mar 16). SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  4. 32 FILMS ON LIST OF UNITED ARTISTS. (1939, May 08). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. Schallert, E. (1939, Oct 25). SCREEN. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. "The House Across the Bay". Turner Classic Movies.
  7. JOAN BENNETT WED TO WALTER WANGER. (1940, Jan 13). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  8. Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 91
  9. "THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; 'House Across the Bay,' With George Raft, Joan Bennett and Walter Pidgeon, Opens at Loew's State--'Black Friday' and 'Viva Cisco Kid' Here". New York Times. March 22, 1940.
  10. Scheuer, P. K. (1940, Feb 27). Alcatraz 'break' depicted. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
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