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The House Across the Bay

The House Across the Bay(1940)


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Steve Larwitt, a New York nightclub operator, falls in love with torch singer Brenda Bentley and marries her. To impress his wife, Steve acquires another nightclub, a distillery, a munitions works and several race horses, using ruthless methods in his upward climb. Suddenly, his empire collapses as he faces charges of income tax evasion and is fired upon by rival racketeers. Brenda, realizing that her husband's life is in danger, believes that by spending a year in jail, he will pay his debt to society and be safe. When Slant Kolma, Steve's lawyer who is in love with Brenda, leads her to believe that the court will let Steve off with a lenient sentence, Brenda secretly furnishes the government with evidence that will put her husband behind bars. Slant double-crosses Steve, however, and as a result, he is sentenced to ten years at Alcatraz. To be near her husband, Brenda follows him to San Francisco and rents an apartment overlooking the bay. While on the boat returning from a visit to Steve, Brenda meets Mary Bogale, another "rock widow" who befriends her. One night, while waiting to call a taxi for Mary, Brenda meets airplane builder Tim Nolan, who is enchanted by her beauty. Tim persists in calling Brenda until she agrees to see him, and although she is attracted to Tim, she remains faithful to Steve. While lunching one afternoon, Brenda and Tim encounter Slant, who insists upon seeing Brenda. That night, after informing Brenda that she is broke, Slant announces his love for her and threatens to tell Steve that Brenda framed him and has been seeing Tim. To protect Tim, Brenda disappears to Alameda, and out of spite, Slant tells Tim about Brenda's marriage to Steve. Rather than foresake Brenda, Tim traces her to Alameda, where she tells him that she must remain loyal to Steve because she is all he has. A jealous Slant watches as Brenda and Tim talk, and the next day, he tells Steve that Brenda framed him and is having an affair with Tim. Insanely jealous, Steve breaks out of Alcatraz and is about to strangle Brenda when Tim enters and tells him that Slant is his betrayer. Realizing that Brenda has been faithful to him and that Tim can make her happy, Steve kills Slant and then swims to his death as the Alcatraz guards fire on him.