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The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,497 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 16 critic

Concentration camp survivor Victoria Kowelska finds herself involved in mystery, greed, and murder when she assumes the identity of a dead friend in order to gain passage to America.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Title: The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Victoria Kowelska (as Valentina Cortesa)
William Lundigan ...
Major Marc Bennett
Fay Baker ...
Gordon Gebert ...
Christopher
Steven Geray ...
Dr. Burkhardt
Herbert Butterfield ...
Joseph C. Callahan
Kei Thin Chung ...
Kei - Houseboy
John Burton ...
Mr. Whitmore
Katherine Meskill ...
Mrs. Whitmore
Mario Siletti ...
Tony, the Grocer
Charles Wagenheim ...
Man At Accident
...
Mechanic
Tamara Schee ...
Maria
Natasha Lytess ...
Karin Dernakova
Edit

Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the house forbidden to every woman with a conscience, forbidden to every man with honor! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 August 1951 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

A Casa da Colina  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Other actresses considered for the Fay Baker role of Margaret include Andrea King, Jayne Meadows, Audrey Totter, Nancy Reagan, Mercedes McCambridge, Marsha Hunt, Ann Savage, and Uta Hagen. See more »

Goofs

In the establishing shot of the house at the beginning, the fact that the water in the bay in the background never moves indicates is it a matte painting. See more »

Quotes

Victoria Kowelska: Everything will be all right, Margaret. I'll be your witness.
Margaret: My conscience will be my witness, Mrs. Spender.
See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Moon
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Played immediately after the performance at the Chinese restaurant
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Woman in Peril at the Top of Telegraph Hill
26 July 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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).

Grade: B


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