6.2/10
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57 user 27 critic

Under Capricorn (1949)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 8 October 1949 (USA)
A young gentleman goes to Australia where he reunites with his now married childhood sweetheart, only to find out she has become an alcoholic and harbors dark secrets.

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Writers:

(play), (play) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Denis O'Dea ...
Mr. Corrigan
Jack Watling ...
Winter
...
The Coachman
John Ruddock ...
Mr. Potter
Bill Shine ...
Mr. Banks
Victor Lucas ...
The Rev. Smiley
...
Mr. Riggs
Francis De Wolff ...
Major Wilkins (as Francis de Wolff)
G.H. Mulcaster ...
Dr. Macallister
Olive Sloane ...
Sal
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Storyline

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 <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Out Of Her Curtained Past...Came A Man Past All Forgetting! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 October 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sklavin des Herzens  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Alfred Hitchcock's third film in a row that failed at box office. His previous box office failures were The Paradine Case (1947) and Rope (1948). His next film Stage Fright (1950) was also a box office failure. See more »

Goofs

At one point in the film, a character says that employees to be fired should be given their "pink slips." The film takes place in 1830s Australia. An article in the New York Times dates the earliest use of the term "pink slip" to 1910. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: 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. ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits roll up over a map of Australia. See more »

Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Fatale beauté (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Hitchcock's least interesting film. Not surprising that it was a massive flop.
12 September 2004 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

Transatlantic Pictures (Hitchcock's own production company) must've rubbed their hands with glee when they decided to co-produce this film with Warner Bros. For not only did they have the world's leading female actress (Ingrid Bergman) in their film, they also had gifted stars Joseph Cotten, Michael Wilding and Margaret Leighton lending support, and naturally the great Alfred Hitchcock at the helm. If ever a film was sure to be a critical and commercial hit, Under Capricorn was it. Such a shame, then, that Under Capricorn emerged as the worst film of Hitchcock's career. The critics roasted it, the public ignored it, and Transatlantic Pictures went bust.

Irish aristocratic lady Henrietta (Bergman) elopes to Australia with her cruel lover Sam Flusky (Cotten). She gradually develops the illness dipsomania, what with her lover controlling her every move with over-bearing authority and their maid Milly (Leighton) plying her with drink. A childhood friend of Henrietta's, Charles Adare (Wilding) turns up and, realising pretty quickly that all is not well, tries to help her regain a sense of stability.

The film is a laughably overwrought costume melodrama, totally ill-suited to Hitchcock's playful, suspenseful directing style. A year previously, the director had made the thriller Rope, using experimental ten minute takes, and in this film he still seems to be in the habit of allowing scenes to go on and on (maybe not ten minutes, but some bits last for six or seven minutes without a single cut). Frequently, the film feels tediously unspooled as a result. The actors seem to over-act much of the time, but it's hard to see how they could've avoided this as much of the screenplay requires them to handle some horribly overripe dialogue and reactions. Under Capricorn is undoubtedly the least interesting film that Hitchcock ever made. Those who try to persuade us that it is a misunderstood masterpiece are, I'm sorry to report, well and truly kidding themselves.


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