Under Capricorn (1983)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Drama | History
6.8
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Title: Under Capricorn (1983– )

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Cast

Credited cast:
Lisa Harrow ...
John Hallam ...
...
...
 Milly
Cathrine Lynch ...
Jim Holt ...
 William Winter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Edward Caddick ...
 Bank Secretary
Peter Collingwood ...
 Govenor
Jo England ...
 Meg
Ellen Freeman ...
 Flo
...
 Captain MacDonald
Frank Gallacher ...
 Quaife
Daphne Grey ...
 Sal
Gordon Lunyupi ...
 Ketch
Stephen Marney ...
 Coachman (1983)
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Taglines:

Set in New South Wales, it is an absorbing drama of intrigue and terrible secrets See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

1983 (Australia)  »

Box Office

Budget:

AUD 2,200,000 (estimated)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Under Capricorn (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Rakes of Mallow
(uncredited)
Traditional
[played on bagpipes during dance]
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User Reviews

 
Rod Hardy's Under Capricorn
3 June 2002 | by (North Dakota) – See all my reviews

Based on a novel by Helen Simpson, and filmed before by Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Hardy and his British and Australian cast do a great job bringing a "Rebecca"-like story to the small screen.

Charles (Peter Cousens) is seeking his fortune in 1800's Australia. The nephew of the territorial governor, Charles endears himself to rich landowner Sam Flusky (John Hallam). As Charles and Sam entertain land prospects, Charles meets Sam's alcoholic wife Henrietta (Lisa Harrow). Henrietta is kept inebriate by housekeeper Milly (Julia Blake), who is secretly in love with Sam.

Charles moves in with Sam and tries to help Henrietta run her household. Rumors of an affair between Henrietta and Charles begin. Milly is excused from the house, and she storms off. Charles meets his soul mate, Sue (Cathrine Lynch), and things seem to be going hunky-dory. Then, Charles is sent on a hunt for gold with Sam's blessing and a loan. It comes back that Charles is dead, and Henrietta begins to drink again. In a more lucid moment, she invites Sue to live with her and care for her, as Milly is also asked back into the house. The climax features the return of Charles, and Milly's efforts to scare Henrietta to death so she can have Sam to herself.

If you find the Prism Entertainment video box to this film, you would think it was a horror film. There is a picture of a shrunken head (essential to the finale) on the cover, and the plot summary makes this sound like a Hammer Studios film. While this is all untrue, that does not make this a bad film. At two hours, the edited version does well to touch on all the major characters while keeping the story going.

Lisa Harrow is excellent as Lady Henrietta, going from a drunk to a lady and back again, and carries the film. John Hallam as Sam is also good, and film makers play with the audience. One minute, you like Sam, the next you despise him for what he is letting happen to his wife. Julia Blake is creepy as Milly, without going overboard into psychosis. She lets love blind her initial loyalty to Henrietta, and her reasoning sometimes even makes sense.

Peter Cousens is good as Charles, although he is a little too wide eyed and sometimes annoying. Cathrine Lynch's Sue does her best Eliza Doolittle impression, and her change to a lady's ward is too quick, possibly as a result of the mini-series' editing.

The majority of the scenes work, but sometimes plotholes open as characters simply keep things from each other to drive the plot forward. Sam's brazen acceptance of Charles is also strange, and not explored. Hardy's direction is good, and he seems to have had a big budget to work with. His fish eye lenses needs to be retired, but his real strength is with his actors.

This plays like a very good episode of "Masterpiece Theater." If that kind of PBS entertainment is not your cup of tea, neither is this. I enjoyed it, despite its non-genre trappings, and I highly recommend it. If anything, it will make you seek out Alfred Hitchcock's 1949 version of the same story.

This is unrated, and contains mild profanity, brief female nudity, and some adult situations.


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