The House on Telegraph Hill

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Original title The House on Telegraph Hill
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1951
length 93 minutes
Director Robert Wise
script Elick Moll ,
Frank Partos
production Robert Bassler
for 20th Century Fox
music Sol Kaplan
camera Lucien Ballard
cut Nick DeMaggio
(as Nick De Maggio)

The House on Telegraph Hill is an American film noir by Robert Wise from 1951. The film is based on the novel The Frightened Child by Dana Lyon , which was published in 1948.


Victoria Kowelska recalls the events that took place in the house on Telegraph Hill .

Victoria is Polin and during the Nazi era in the Bergen-Belsen deported. There she befriends Karin Dernakova from Poland, who tells her about her little son Chris, whom she last saw as a toddler and who lives with her aunt Sophie in San Francisco . Both plan to go to the USA together later, but Karin dies shortly before the camp is liberated by US troops . Victoria's husband is dead and their home in Poland is destroyed, so Victoria takes on Karin's identity. She can make her new identity credible to members of the Army who question her. However, a telegram from America informs her that her aunt Sophie has passed away.

Despite her doubts, Victoria goes to New York City and learns that she is the heir to Aunt Sophie's fortune. She meets Alan Spender, who was known to Aunt Sophie and who now lives in Sophie's house on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. This is also where Chris lives, who has been looked after by the nanny Margaret since Karin's departure. In New York, Alan and Victoria get closer and get married. At a reception in Sophie's house in San Francisco, Victoria meets Major Marc Bennett, who was one of the Army officers questioning her in Bergen-Belsen. Victoria quickly realizes that Marc and Alan can't stand each other despite their alleged friendship. Most of all Alan is envious of Marc because he grew up in a rich family while he always had to work hard for his property.

Victoria has doubts about Alan's love for her. She discovers a small outbuilding in the park of the house, the side of which is on the cliff with a huge hole, and suspects something bad. When she wants to go shopping at the market, the brakes fail - Chris, who actually wanted to be in the car, had to do other things at short notice. Victoria confides in Marc that she believes Alan wants to kill her to get Sophie's inheritance. Marc, who fell in love with Victoria, does some research. He learns that the telegram sent from New York to Victoria in 1945 with the news of Aunt Sophie's death did not come from New York lawyers. Victoria in turn finds out that the telegram was sent shortly before Sophie's death - Alan must have given it up himself. Victoria wants to tell Marc about her findings by phone, but Alan suspects what she knows. He tampered with the phone in the house on Telegraph Hill and poisoned Victoria's sleeping potion with an overdose of narcotics. After Victoria has emptied her glass, he confesses to her that he killed Aunt Sophie at the time and that he feels an irrepressible hatred for her and Chris. Only Margaret's vigilance prevented him from killing Chris, either in the outbuilding or while driving. He admits to having given her an overdose of anesthetic, but Victoria was vigilant: she changed the glasses so Alan drank the poison himself. He collapses. The summoned Margaret refuses to call a doctor. Too often she has had to save Chris from being murdered by Alan.

Marc, who tried in vain to reach Victoria by phone, appears at the house on Telegraph Hill shortly after Alan dies. Margaret is taken away for failure to provide assistance. Marc gets Victoria and Chris out of the house, which both of them never want to return to.


The House on Telegraph Hill was filmed in San Francisco in September and October 1950 . It started in New York City on May 12, 1951 .

The portrait of Aunt Sophie in the film shows actress Helena Benda (1903–1986).


Variety called the film a slow but interesting melodrama that maintained an eerie mood and a steadily growing tension.


The House on Telegraph Hill was nominated in 1952 for an Oscar in the category " Best Production Design (Black and White Film ) ", but could not prevail against Endstation Nehnsucht .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. In reality, the camp was liberated by British troops on April 15, 1945
  2. Alain Silver, Elizabeth Ward (Ed.): Film Noir. An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, Third Edition. Overlook / Duckworth, New York / Woodstock / London 1992, ISBN 978-0-87951-479-2 , p. 135.
  3. ^ The House on Telegraph Hill. In: Turner Classic Movies . Retrieved May 30, 2019 .
  4. ^ The House on Telegraph Hill. In: Variety . 1951, accessed May 30, 2019 .