January 21, 2015, 1:30 p.m. — The House across the Bay (1940)
The House across the Bay
1940. USA. Directed by Archie Mayo. Screenplay by Kathryn Scola, from a story by Myles Connolly. With Joan Bennett, George Raft, Lloyd Nolan, Walter Pidgeon. With her hair newly darkened, Bennett is in fine, throaty form as a wisecracking nightclub singer who marries New York gangster George Raft. Life is sweet until she decides to rat him out to the IRS, hoping to protect him from rival hoods by putting him behind bars—at which point the film shifts coasts and genres, turning into a foggy San Francisco melodrama as Bennett pines for her man in Alcatraz and dashing aviator Walter Pidgeon tries to convince her not to. Archie Mayo’s direction isn’t up to the challenge, but there are indelible moments, including Bennett in full Miranda performing a wild Latin American production number. 16mm. 88 min.