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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>
The portrait shown throughout the movie as "Aunt Sophie", was a painting of actress Helena Benda. 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 »
Effective Gothic thriller. I especially like the set-up, where Vicki (Cortese) gains admittance to the US by impersonating a dead fellow prisoner in a WWII concentration camp . That way she not only has her own secrets, but is also no unblemished young thing, which is usually the case in these woman-in-danger films. Once in the US, however, she marries into great wealtha dream come truebut in the process gets more than she bargained for.
A lot of the story depends on appropriate emoting. Fortunately, it's a powerhouse cast, but I especially like Fay Baker's icy nanny Margaret. She's quietly intimidating without overdoing it. Too bad she didn't get bigger roles in more movies. I can't help noting, however, that Cortese may be the only Hollywood leading lady without a perfect nose. It's a fine regal beak and I'm glad she hung on to it. I can also see why Basehart fell for her in real life.
The San Francisco locations make a good open air contrast to the dark mansion interiors that dominate the characters. I expect director Wise applied his noir skills from the great Val Lewton series of horror flicks. Also, the ending amounts to a delicious twist, both unpredictable and very well thought out. My one problem was figuring out who's related to whom since that's important to the plot. I don't know if that's the screenplay's fault or mine.
Anyway, it's an effective thriller with a fine cast and an imaginative ending, worth tuning in for.
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