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>
Pretty standard woman-in-peril film raised a notch or two above the average by high production values and taut direction by Robert Wise.
Valentina Cortesa plays a woman who is released from a concentration camp and takes on the identity of a woman who died in the camp. She uses this new identity as a ticket to America, marries Richard Basehart and assumes the mother role to the son the dead woman left behind. All the while, a possessive and meddling nanny lurks in the background and resists all of Cortesa's overtures to create a happy family.
Richard Basehart was terrific as a villain. He had leading man good looks but was so good at being oily and duplicitous. There is some attempt at making the audience guess how much Cortesa's character is actually in danger from her husband (there's an inheritance involved) and how much the nanny is implicated, but only some. Mostly, the plot is straightforward, and we know Cortesa will get out of everything o.k., just not exactly how.
The film has the look of a film noir, heightened by the San Francisco atmosphere, but it's really more of a conventional suspense thriller than a true noir. It received a sole Oscar nomination for its black and white art direction, courtesy of the many-times-nominated team of Lyle Wheeler and John DeCuir (art direction) and Thomas Little and Paul S. Fox (set decoration).
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?