In 1831, Irishman Charles Adare travels to Australia to start a new life with the help of his cousin who has just been appointed governor. When he arrives he meets powerful landowner and ex-convict Sam Flusky, who wants to do a business deal with him. Whilst attending a dinner party at Flusky's house, Charles meets Flusky's wife Henrietta who he had known as a child back in Ireland. Henrietta is an alcoholic and seems to be on the verge of madness. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
This was third film in a row that failed at box office. His previous box office failures were The Paradine Case (1947) and Rope (1948). Alfred Hitchcock's film Stage Fright (1950) after this film was also a box office failure. See more »
The opening narration declares that "In 1770 Captain Cook discovered Australia". While James Cook led one of the first British expeditions to Australia, other European explorers had visited the country before him. See more »
In seventeen-hundred and seventy, Captain Cook discovered Australia. Sixty years later, the city of Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, had grown on the edge of three million square miles of unknown land. The colony exported raw materials. It imported material even more raw - prisoners, many of them unjustly convicted, who were to be shaped into the pioneers of a great dominion. In eighteen-hundred and thirty-one King William the Fourth sent a new governor to rule the colony. ...
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If people went to the theater to see a Hitchcock film, they must have thought they were in the wrong theater
Alfred Hitchcock veered out of his comfort zone several times in his career: "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," "The Trouble with Harry," "Topaz," some others, and it could be argued, the sumptuous "Rebecca." "Under Capricorn" was produced by Hitchcock himself, is lovely to look at thanks to Jack Cardiff's cinematography, is well acted, and leaves one empty. It doesn't trade on Hitchcock's strong points.
The story concerns a young man, Charles Adare (Michael Wilding) who comes from Ireland to Australia in 1831 and becomes involved with a wealthy landowner, Sam Flusky (Joseph Cotten), who wants to do business with him. Invited to dinner at his home, Charles meets Flusky's wife, Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman) whom he knew in Ireland when he was a child. Henrietta is in bad shape. The house is run by a disagreeable servant, Milly (Margaret Leighton), and Henrietta seems to be a big alcoholic. It's obvious that Sam still loves his wife very much, but he's frustrated as to how to help her. Charles feels that their bond from the old country may be able to help him get to her, and Sam allows him to try. Sam doesn't think ahead, and he is unable to realize how insecure and jealous this is going to make him.
You wouldn't think with a cast like this and direction by Hitchcock that this thing could miss, but miss it does. It's pretty slow and boring. I shudder to think what it would have been like without Ingrid Bergman, who has the flashy role and does a beautiful job with it. Joseph Cotten is good, but may be a touch miscast - the role calls for less of a gentleman and more of someone with a tougher edge.
One thing I can't understand is the emphasis here on Irish roots. Michael Wilding is as English as they come, and makes no attempt at an Irish brogue; neither does Ingrid Bergman do anything about her Swedish accent.
This is a character-driven piece that doesn't have a fabulous script; Hitchcock was very plot-driven as a director. This is a bad fit. A noble experiment that lost a lot of money.
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