The House on Telegraph Hill

Your husband is dead, your home has been burned, then you’re tossed into a Nazi concentration camp. This spooky 1951 film noir, ably directed by Robert Wise, begins dark and actually gets darker when its Polish heroine (Valentina Cortese) emigrates to America after the war. As it turns out, she’s been delivered from evil…into more evil. First, she’s an imposter, having assumed the identity of a friend who died in Belsen. The dead woman’s young son, shipped to America to live with a rich aunt before the Germans invaded, is her ticket to the states. There, she quickly marries the trustee (Richard Basehart) of her (false) family’s fortune, which includes a big creaking Gothic house overlooking San Francisco Harbor. And, wait a minute, just how did the rich aunt die, anyway? Just as our heroine starts asking such inconvenient questions, her car’s brake lines are cut, and someone slips poison into her orange juice! There’s a strong Rebecca vibe as this interloper becomes enveloped in the intrigues of the past, trapped in domestic horror. Everything was fine, the trustee warns her, until “you decided to come back from the grave.” (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Thu., Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m., 2010

 
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