This is a reminder of man's inhumanity and the suffering caused in WWII. When one has lost all family and personal possessions, desperation can move one to take liberties with the truth for survival's sake. But what is one to do when such deception has been trumped by the people living in one's own HOUSE ON TELEGRAPH HILL? With a torturous concentration camp background, it is plausible that others may be easily convinced that the immigrant is cracking up. When help is needed, who can be trusted while personally living a lie in a new country?
The viewer sees events through the eyes of the immigrant Victoria Kowelska (Valentina Cortese). Following a bit of early over-dramatization in the concentration camp, Victoria assumes the identity of a wealthy benefactor named Karen. After her marriage to Alan (Richard Basehart), Karen/Victoria attempts to prove a murderous cover-up is taking place and her own life is in danger. At the same time, others are either trying to make her believe that everything is normal or that she is delusional.
Mrs. Danvers' contempt in [[ASIN:B00000K0EG REBECCA]], the "murderous" attempts in [[ASIN:B0002HOEOY SUSPICION]], and the effort to convince Paula she was going insane in [[ASIN:B00011D1PE GASLIGHT]] find corresponding scenes in HOUSE ON TELEGRAPH HILL. As events unfold, subtle twists may catch you off guard but the history of prior classics may render some conclusions obvious. Nevertheless, the presentation does not borrow to such an extent to make it a rehash. It is more like a tribute to favored classics with sufficient new settings for a good degree of suspense.
I do have some minor criticisms. A few unresolved scenes, like the reaction to obvious scrapbook tampering and why evidence of an explosion remains for years, are left to the viewer's imagination and logic. Deathbed confessions in closing scenes attempt to sew up most loose ends. Major Marc Bennett (William Lundigan) seems too friendly too quickly and appears nonchalant about every twisted development.
Film transfer is very good but not great. (Specs and occasional posterization/pixelization in dark tones.) With these factors and the aforementioned plot borrowing I deduct a star from an otherwise entertaining suspense movie.
Movie quote: "I make no excuse. I felt Alan was attracted to me and I was prepared to take advantage of it."