Under Capricorn

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

60%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 15

32%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,463
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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

Cast

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

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (5)

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

    Mar 3, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Under Capricorn is overlong and talky, with scant measure of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller tricks.

    Jul 22, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

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

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    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.

    Mar 25, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • Hitchcock was trying something new here, a melodrama where the terror comes from within, from the rot created by burying secrets, both for Henrietta and for the nation of Australia as a whole.

    Jun 3, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Under Capricorn

  • Sep 27, 2011
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 13, 2011
    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 C Super Reviewer
  • May 08, 2011
    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 n Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    This is one of Hitchcock's lesser films, it's nothing like his others, and not in a good way. It's a melodrama set in the past. The only good thing I can say is that the cast is good.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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