Victoria has survived Nazi concentration by assuming the identity of one who died there. She arrives in San Francisco to see her "son" just as the boy's great-aunt dies leaving a lot of money to be inherited. Victoria falls in love with the boy's trustee Alan Spender, and they move into the mansion on Telegraph Hill. She then learns that Alan and his lover, the boy's governess Margaret, murdered an aunt and are planning the same for her. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Julius Castle, a restaurant with a castle-like exterior located on San Francisco's Telegraph Hill, was used as the exterior of the house in the film. The filmmakers built a mansion-like exterior around parts of the restaurant to hide certain elements (such as the "Julius Castle" sign on the outside wall). Built in 1922, Julius Castle served as a high-class restaurant until it closed in 2008. (It is currently for sale.) See more »
Nazi concentration camps routinely confiscated the identification documents and personal property of inmates. Yet Victoria's friend Karin has been allowed by the Nazis to keep a photograph of her son and other means of identification, which Victoria takes after Karin's death. And Victoria also kept her own passport during her time as a prisoner of the Nazis. See more »
Valentina Cortese and Richard Basehart star in "The House on Telegraph Hill," a 1951 film also starring William Lundigan. It's probable that Cortese and Basehart met during the filming of this movie, since they were married in March of 1951. Cortese plays a concentration camp survivor, Victoria Kowelska, who takes the identity of her dead friend and travels to San Francisco to claim the woman's son, who is living with an aunt, and also her inheritance. When she arrives, the aunt is deceased,and the boy is being cared for by a snippy nanny (Fay Baker). Victoria and the estate's trustee (Basehart) fall in love, marry, and live in the aunt's mansion. It soon becomes apparent from a series of mishaps that someone is trying to do away with Victoria. She finally confides in the Army officer who processed her papers (Lundigan).
Robert Wise does a good job with this suspenser, which combines some diverse elements - hidden identity, romance, shady nanny and a murder plot - though the script isn't the best. It drags in spots. Cortese is an effective actress while not being a conventional beauty; her star shone brighter in Italy, where she worked until 1993 and then retired.
"The House on Telegraph Hill" does hold the viewer throughout. It's enjoyable but nothing special.
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