The main thing telegraphed in this Hitchcock wannabe is the plot, heavy with juicy bits out of REBECCA and SUSPICION. Actually, there’s more interest in the film’s under-served backstory which has Valentina Cortese’s WWII Concentration Camp survivor using the identity papers of a friend who didn’t survive; a friend who left a young son with a rich aunt in San Francisco. But the aunt has died, and now the estate will go to distant relative Richard Basehart if Cortese can’t prove her identity. A dicey problem, one easily solved when Basehart abruptly marries Cortese. Is it for love or money? If only the child’s nanny weren’t so officious & domineering. Or so close to Basehart. Maybe it’s just her imagination & outsider status acting up. So thinks smitten family lawyer William Lundigan . . . even after Cortese’s car runs out of brake fluid on those hilly San Fran streets. Yikes! There’s fun to be had watching a first-rate technician like director Robert Wise working Hitchcockian terrain. He may not bother to stick a lightbulb inside a glass of poisoned milk (it’s orange juice here), but many shot choices & shadowy stairs give away his game. Still, it's all largely boilerplate stuff. (Here we go again . . . again. Forgot all about writing this one up a few years back! Hey, it’s that kind of pic. Sometimes there’s a big change of mind when that happens . . . not this time.)
ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: Wise moved up from superior technician to finding a real voice on his very next pic, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL/’51.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: A better mystery than any found in the film is why the career of solidly handsome, sympathetic leading-man William Lundigan never quite took off.