The House on Carroll Street (1998)

The House on Carroll Street (1998)

Taglines: Emily Crane overheard a secret. Now she’s running for her life.

Emily Crane is fired after refusing to give names to a 1951 House Un-American Activities Committee, and takes a part-time job as companion to an old lady. One day her attention is drawn to a noisy argument being conducted largely in German in a neighbouring house, the more so since one of those involved is her main senator prosecutor. Starting to look into things, she gradually enlists the help of FBI officer Cochran who was initially detailed to check her out. Just as well when things turn nasty.

The House on Carroll Street is a 1988 American thriller film directed by Peter Yates. The film features Kelly McGillis, Jeff Daniels, Mandy Patinkin, Jessica Tandy, Jonathan Hogan, Remak Ramsay, Kenneth Welsh, Christopher Buchholz and Randle Mell.

About the Story

Emily Crane (Kelly McGillis), a picture editor for Life magazine, is fired after refusing to give names to a 1951 House Un-American Activities Committee and takes a part-time job as companion to an old lady. One day her attention is drawn to a noisy argument being conducted in a neighboring house. She eavesdrops through an open window, seeing that one of those involved is her main senator prosecutor, Ray Salwen (Mandy Patinkin). His opponent is an elderly man who speaks only German; a younger man named Stefan (Christopher Buchholz), whom Emily had earlier asked for directions, is interpreting their confrontation.

The House on Carroll Street (1998) - Kelly McGillis

Emily meets Stefan on the street again and attempts to press him for information; when he rebuffs her, she follows him to a cemetery, where he demands to know why she is interested. They arrange a later meeting at a book shop, but are accosted by two men claiming to be US Immigration agents, which a panicked Stefan denies. He and Emily escape their pursuit, but before Stefan can tell Emily more, he is murdered by a knife-wielding assassin. During the crime scene investigation, the police find a list of four names in Stefan’s pocket, and Emily insists that they search the house where she overheard the argument.

The police are skeptical of Emily’s story, so she decides to search the house herself; the assassin reappears, but is thwarted by FBI agent Cochran (Jeff Daniels), who has been keeping an eye on Emily for several days. After a scuffle, the assassin flees, and Cochran takes Emily home — but not before she picks up a book with a woman’s name and a date written inside the cover. Cochran and his partner, Hackett (Kenneth Welsh), deduce that the name is actually that of a ship, and that it will be arriving in the Port of New York City the next day. Cochran and Emily observe the ship’s arrival, but the intrigue grows when Cochran notes government officials present to receive some of the passengers.

The House on Carroll Street (1998)

Rather than take immediate action, they follow the passengers to a wedding party, where Emily recognises one of the group as the man who had the heated argument with Salwen — only he now speaks fluent English and introduces himself as Teperson, one of the names on Stefan’s list. Emily slips away, eavesdrops on another conversation and learns that the group will be leaving on a train for Chicago the next evening. This time, she is intercepted by bodyguards and taken to a restaurant where Salwen is waiting to meet her.

Cochran, meanwhile, views a series of intelligence photographs featuring the men who are named on the list; they are all Nazi war criminals travelling under false names, being smuggled into the United States to participate in top-secret anti-Soviet scientific programs. Salwen cryptically reveals as much to Emily, who returns home to find Cochran trying to disarm a bomb rigged to several of her kitchen appliances. They escape Emily’s apartment seconds before the bomb explodes, and though Cochran is removed from the investigation, Emily goes ahead to Grand Central Terminal to catch the party before their departure.

The House on Carroll Street Movie Poster (1998)

The House on Carroll Street (1998)

Directed by: Peter Yates
Starring: Kelly McGillis, Jeff Daniels, Mandy Patinkin, Jessica Tandy, Jonathan Hogan, Remak Ramsay, Kenneth Welsh, Christopher Buchholz, Randle Mell
Screenplay by: Walter Bernstein
Production Design by: Stuart Wurtzel
Cinematography by: Michael Ballhaus
Film Editing by: Ray Lovejoy
Costume Design by: Rita Ryack
Set Decoration by: George DeTitta Jr.
Art Direction by: W. Steven Graham
Music by: Georges Delerue
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: March 4, 1988