What did she think of this? Read on and find out.
SYNOPSIS: 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 harbours dark secrets.- via IMDB
While not a masterpiece, Under Capricorn does indeed tell a better story than many of the older Hitchcock films that I have watched, and had the beautiful Ingrid Bergman helming a main role. The chemistry between her and Michael Wilding was palpable, and the love story between Lady Henrietta and Sam was a touching and beautiful one.
When the movie initially started, I was not particularly sure what it wanted to do, but figured I would find out soon enough. Quickly it moved on from shady but obscure business dealings to a more focused story: Lady Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman) and her severe battle with alcoholism and a terrible past. Charles Adare (Michael Wilding) seems to have an encouraging effect on her, giving Sam (Joseph Cotten) peeks at the woman he loved and married all those years ago, the woman he lost, and he desperately wants her back.
Charles is very taken with Lady Henrietta; he had known her when he was still a child, back in Ireland. When Sam requests that Charles help her, naturally Charles obliges. Sam shares a bit of the past he has with Lady Henrietta, and it is evident that he was madly in love with her, but his incarceration for the murder of her brother has put a distance between them. Neither will talk of what they went through after she followed him to Australia after his sentencing, just to be with him.
Milly (Margaret Leighton) has all but taken up the duties of the lady of the house, though she is only the head housekeeper. Lady Henrietta depends heavily on her, and Milly enjoys Sam’s confidences. While Charles is assisting Lady Henrietta is regaining her sobriety and taking control of her life, it becomes clear to him that Milly refuses to assist the lady of the house in that matter, and seems to do much that she does to suit her own needs, and not those of Lady Henrietta or Sam. Bringing this to light infuriates Sam, though he does not believe it, and Milly leaves when it seems that it will just be a case of he-said-she-said between her and Charles.
It was a beautiful play on the love that Sam and Lady Henrietta shared, as well as showed the class difference between the two. Charles was honourable, no matter that he was head over heels in love with Lady Henrietta. Milly honest to goodness made my blood boil, with her sneakiness, cunning, cruelty, and selfishness. A married man is out of bounds lady! The jealousy and resentment that simmers throughout the film is also something to behold, and the insecurities that lie between Sam and his social standing are actually more significant than he makes out.
Overall, Under Capricorn kept me very interested, and I thoroughly enjoyed Wilding. He and Bergman worked so well together. The score truly went very far into the depths of a romance, which at times was truly annoying, but it also sort of worked incredibly well. There were quite a few shallow characters, but overall, if you focus just on Sam, Lady Henrietta, Charles, and Milly, it is a pretty good story, and I was engaged and focused the whole way through. Maybe not his best work, but this was a pretty good outing in my opinion.