Julius Castle, 1541 Montgomery Street.
|Only in film
noir can someone who steals the identity of a dead friend and escapes
to a lush life in the City be the hero of the story. Valentina Cortese
is a concentration camp survivor who comes to San Francisco as the mistress
of The House on Telegraph Hill. She quickly finds herself at the
epicenter of danger when it becomes clear that bridegroom Richard Basehart
and creepy governess Fay Baker are keeping secrets. The thriller was filmed
on Telegraph Hill and in North Beach in the latter half of 1950 by director
Robert Wise and released the following year. It provides an excellent
archive of upper Montgomery. A scene with Cortese careening out of control
for several blocks in a car with no brakes is actually a wild ride down
Union and Montgomery streets in all directions! She finally comes to an
abrupt stop in a mound of dirt at Montgomery and Montague Place. (Five
years after the film's release, Cortese and Basehart - who met on the film
and were married from 1951 to 1960 - survived a three-car pile-up in Terracine, Italy.
Two police officers were killed in the accident.) Despite many authentic San
Francisco locations in this entry, the mansion known as "the
house on Telegraph Hill," is a composite of the Julius Castle site
and special photographic effects by Fred Sersen. The address given in the script, 200 Jackson Street, is Kokkari Estatorio, a Greek restaurant in the Financial District.
I: Bay Bridge-Waterfront
Copyright 2003 Hank Donat