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.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.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.
Francis De Wolff
- Major Wilkins
- (as Francis de Wolff)
An lesser-known and underrated Hitchcock masterpiece!
It's a real shame (and also rather difficult to believe) that this film is so little-known and difficult to view. Even though it was directed by the famous Alfred Hitchcock (in my opinion, the most brilliant film director who ever lived), it has too often been dismissed as one of his "lesser works." To each his own, I suppose, but _Under Capricorn_ boasts some of the most beautiful photography and eloquent, literate dialogue to be found in any Hitchcock film. Although the plot and structure of the film are familiar (the quintessential love triangle, ala _Wuthering Heights_), Hitchcock's treatment raises it above the ordinary. The costumes and sets are actually quite lavish, and pay particular attention to the unique musical score! Hitchcock's experiments with the "ten-minute take" (with which he experimented in his previous film, _Rope_) also add to the film's interest. The film is not, of course, an artistic triumph for Hitchcock alone. Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten (to name only two) are stars of the caliber that one just doesn't see anymore, and they give worthy performances. Casting Ingrid Bergman as an Irish noblewoman is, of course, rather bizarre casting against type, but this great actress makes it work. Joseph Cotten possesses the rougher qualities that his part demands, but his performance also elicits sympathy from the viewer (such as the scene where he is going to present his wife with a collar of rubies but then decides to hide his gift when she and Charles Adair comment that it wouldn't go with her gown). The other actors, mostly little-known to American audiences, fill their roles well more than adequately and the very fact that they are unfamiliar makes them easier for the viewer to see as the characters they play rather than as "stars." All in all, _Under Capricorn_ is an underrated masterpiece that is surely one of the best "costume" pictures of the 1940s. It is not for anyone seeking vicarious thrills or shocks, but for discriminating viewers who demand a coherent storyline, color photography that is aesthetically pleasing, literate dialogue and interesting casting, _Under Capricorn_ will fill the bill. I recommend it enthusiastically!
- May 6, 1999
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