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The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 27 August 1951 (Sweden)
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) | 1 more credit »
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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)
...
Major Marc Bennett
Fay Baker ...
Gordon Gebert ...
Christopher
...
Dr. Burkhardt
...
Joseph C. Callahan
Kei Thin Chung ...
Kei - Houseboy
John Burton ...
Mr. Whitmore
Katherine Meskill ...
Mrs. Whitmore
...
Tony, the Grocer
Charles Wagenheim ...
Man At Accident
...
Mechanic
Tamara Schee ...
Maria
...
Karin Dernakova
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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. Living life in a new identity isn't without its dangers, however. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Their emotions, their passions, their fury race headlong from the House on Telegraph Hill! 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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Furnishings and props for the mansion interior were acquired by property master Tom Little from the estates of the Aga Khan III and David Belasco. 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

Alan Spender: [to Victoria/Karin] Is there something going on in that funny little head of yours - something you're keeping from me?
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

 
Good Gothic Thriller
28 February 2012 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

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 wealth—a dream come true—but 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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