Under Capricorn (1949)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Under Capricorn Photos

Movie Info

Returning to his old Elstree Studios headquarters in England, Alfred Hitchcock did his best with Hume Cronyn's adaptation of the James Bridie novel Under Capricorn. Costume drama was never Hitchcock's forte, as proven by his disappointing Jamaica Inn (1939), but Capricorn does have its moments. Set in Australia in the early 19th century, the film concerns the tribulations of Lady Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman), who was driven out of her home in disgrace after eloping with unkempt stableman Sam Flusky (Joseph Cotten). Accused of the murder of Henrietta's brother, Flusky has been transported to Australia, where he starts life anew as a prosperous businessman, even while his wife descends further and further into alcoholism and self-hatred. When her cousin Charles Adare (Michael Wilding) comes to visit, Henrietta falls in love with him; she also confides that it was she, and not Flusky, who was responsible for her brother's death. The operatic climax finds Lady Henrietta doing the "right thing" at the cost of her own happiness. At times ponderously directed, the film comes explosively to life whenever Margaret Leighton, cast as Lady Henrietta's spiteful housekeeper, dominates the scene. On a technical level, Under Capricorn is distinguished by the same "ten-minute takes" that Hitchcock had utilized in Rope; particularly effective is an uninterrupted dialogue sequence, played against the backdrop of a spectacular Technicolor sunset (courtesy cinematographer Jack Cardiff). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Art House & International , Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:

Cast

Ingrid Bergman
as Lady Henrietta Flusky
Joseph Cotten
as Sam Flusky
Cecil Parker
as Sir Richard the tutor
Denis O'Dea
as Corrigan attorney-general
Michael Wilding
as Hon. Charles Adare
Ronald Adam
as Mr. Riggs
Francis De Wolff
as Maj. Wilkins
John Ruddock
as Mr. Potter
Jack Watling
as Winter Flusky's secretary
Julia Lang
as Susan
G.H. Mulcaster
as Dr. McAllister
Bill Shine
as Mr. Banks
Victor Lucas
as The Reverand Smiley
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Under Capricorn

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (5)

Giddily atypical in its style even as it explores lurid new byways of Hitchcock's familiar obsessions.

Full Review… | March 2, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Under Capricorn is overlong and talky, with scant measure of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller tricks.

Full Review… | July 21, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

A strangely unexciting but emotionally intriguing Hitchcock costume drama with echoes of Rebecca and Suspicion.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It seems that neither Miss Bergman nor Mr. Hitchcock has tangled here with stuff of any better than penny-dreadful substance and superfical demands.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Shot in astonishingly elaborate long takes, this is the kind of film that finds the most brilliant poetry in the slightest movement of the camera -- a paradigm of cinematic expression.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Talky and static, with little of Hitchcock's trademark suspense. The costume drama was not his metier, and he wisely decided to stay out of the genre after this.

Full Review… | March 2, 2014
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Under Capricorn

Any Hitchcock film has interesting things in but this somewhat overheated soap opera isn't one of his best. Would have benefited from being between 15 to 20 minutes shorter.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Um dos filmes mais incomuns de Hitchcock por não se tratar de um suspense tradicional e sim um drama de época. Infelizmente, também é uma de suas produções menos atraentes. Baseado em um romance escrito por Helen Simpson, a história se desenrola na Austrália colonial de 1831. Em uma atuação que traz ecos de seu papel oscarizado em À Meia Luz, Ingrid Bergman é Lady Henrietta, a perturbada e alcoolizada esposa de um próspero ex-condenado irlandês (o sempre versátil Joseph Cotten) com má fama entre a elite australiana. O conflito se desenrola a partir da tentativa do sobrinho do governador (Michael Wilding) de ajudar a sofrida mulher a se livrar de seus tormentos do passado. O melodrama é uma escolha fora do usual para Hitch e, apesar da inserção de seus usuais elementos de suspense, as revelações que esses acarretam não deixam de atuar como um anticlímax (o mesmo pode ser dito do filme como um todo). Sob o Signo de Capricórnio deu continuação aos experimentos com longos planos sequência iniciados com Festim Diabólico no ano anterior. Embora a fluidez com que Hitchcock mova sua câmera seja uma arte a parte (e belamente colocada em prática na cena bravura em que Bergman faz uma confissão sobre seu passado), é possível imaginar o quanto a narrativa letárgica teria se beneficiado da característica edição hitchcockiana. Em contrapartida, o diretor já mostra domínio sobre o uso da cor (este foi apenas seu segundo filme em Technicolor) para afetar emocionalmente o espectador e contribuir para a narrativa. Apesar de a produção ter sido um veículo para Ingrid Bergman, a estrela sueca é desbancada pelo desempenho restringido de Margaret Leighton como a inescrupulosa governanta Milly. Remetendo à Mrs. Danvers de Rebecca: A Mulher Inesquecível com sua paixão reprimida pelo seu mestre, a personagem pertence ao panteão dos grandes vilões de Hitchcock.

Matheus Carvalho
Matheus Carvalho

Super Reviewer

A melodrama with a few beautiful moments and interesting characters. Also, some nice long shots allow the performances to shine. It does not, however, has a clear focus and that makes it suffer a bit.

George Matalliotakis
George Matalliotakis

Super Reviewer

Under Capricorn Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Under Capricorn on our Movie forum!

News & Features