Under Capricorn

TimJS

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DVDPlanet also listed Under Capricorn (posted CC's on seperate post).

Never seen this one but Ingrid Bergman & Joseph Cotton!

Here's what DVDPlanet sez:

Screen legends Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten star in this spellbinding melodrama from the screen's Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock! Banished for murder to Australia, Sam Flusky takes his victim's troubled sister, Henrietta, as his wife. The arrival of a new governor also brings Henrietta's old friend, Adare, who tries to help her conquer the demons plaguing her life. But something mysterious is afoot; is Henrietta going insane, or is there a sinister plot at work? A gripping, atmospheric yarn in the style of Rebecca and Gaslight, this sumptuous production features some of Hitchcock's most audacious visual tricks and is now presented on DVD in a rich new Technicolor digital transfer!

Street: 6/17 from Image.

Tim
 

george kaplan

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I'm a big Hitchcock fan. I own 29 of his movies at the moment, and will buy 4 more when they become available. But Under Capricorn isn't one of them. Not a horrible movie, but not up to Hitch's usual standards. It just doesn't work for me.
 

Doug Pyle

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Well, visually this is a very interesting Hitchcock film - from his period of experimentation with long & fluid takes. I'm looking forward to the DVD.
 

Robert Harris

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Technically this film is extremely interesting as the moving camera technique was put to better use than in Rope.

As a side note, a wonderfully designed shot in UC is lampooned by Mel Brooks in High Anxiety as a camera glides unnoticed up to a window, which would normally disappear allowing it to enter.

In the Brooks version, the camera crashes through the glass.

Under Capricorn was one of only two 3 strip Technicolor Hitchcock productions and should be a part of any Hitchcock library.
 

Ken_McAlinden

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I hope Image does a bang-up job on this one. It has never really been done justice on video. The film is dramatically a bit slow, but as one would expect, there is technically a lot to admire in this Hitchcock film featuring technicolor cinematography from Jack Cardiff.

The film gets a bad rap, probably because it is atypical Hitchcock and short on thrills. Also, its lack of box office success more or less signaled the death knell for Hitch & Sidney Bernstein's Transatlantic Pictures venture.

Regards,
 

Reagan

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Technically this film is extremely interesting as the moving camera technique was put to better use than in Rope.
Better camera movement than Rope? That's hard to imagine, but I'll give it a shot. Ironically, it was Hitchcock himself (in the Truffaut interview) that talked me out of watching UC.

-R
 

Richard Waller

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I'm a Hitchcock junkie. I even have all the Laserlights. :b I'll be glad to get this release.

The R2 Project has a story today about a Hitchcock collection being released in April that includes Foreign Correspondent, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Suspicion, as well as other previously available movies. I hope these will be released in R1 soon, or even available separately so I could get them.
 

Charlie Essmeier

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Let's hope they clean up the color. The laserdisc was horribly washed out, and everything had a rather blue tint.

If they can clean up the story, that would help, too. I tried to like it, but it's just a dull film.

Charlie
 

Randy A Salas

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Let's hope they clean up the color. The laserdisc was horribly washed out, and everything had a rather blue tint.
The Image press release notes that the DVD will sport a "beautiful new Technicolor digital transfer!"--so take that for whatever it's worth.
 

Robert Harris

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Under Capricorn seems to have been put through transfer without a colorist in attendance.

While it is in color, there has been little control of that color, and the transfer has absolutely no attributes of the three-strip process.

That said, and color aside, the disc is still worth picking up for its historical content.

RAH
 

Stephen PI

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Despite your not very enthusiastic report, Mr. Harris, I'll go ahead and purchase it just to keep my dvd Hitchcock collection up to date.
 

John Alderson

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I currently own 37 Hitchcock films on DVD (including the Laserlight box sets). I guess that makes me a certified Hitchcock junkie too.

Looks like UC will make it 38
Thanks for the report.
 

Jon Robertson

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It's a pity and a grave disappointment that Technicolor photography as glorious and exacting as that of Jack Cardiff has not been given, shall we say, Oscar-worthy treatment.

I've not seen the film, but I do nonetheless have one choice anecdote from Jack Cardiff himself when I attended a Q&A session after a celebratory screening of Black Narcissus a few years ago.

I believe there is a shot where the camera goes along the surface of an entire full-length dining table with guests sitting all along on either side. Now Hitchcock had his heart set on this sequence, but with 1949 Technicolor cameras being so cumbersome it seemed impossible, until a novel solution was struck upon. The camera glided along past everyone and the moment each actor was out of shot, their chair was tipped backwards onto an obliging pile of cushions in an extraordinary display of Hollywood-star dominoes. The crew, according to Jack Cardiff, had quite a time not ruining the takes with laughter.

He also signed my Criterion DVDs of Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes after I pounced on him as he entered the cinema. From that Q&A session and the brief exchange we had ("Are these DVDs?" "Yes."), he came across as a charming old chap - just the kind of man you'd like as a grandfather.

Not many seem to rate Under Capricorn, but those who do seem to consider it a lost masterpiece (Dave Kehr described it as "easily one of Hitchcock's finest half-dozen or so films"). Despite the apparent lack of care with the transfer, I am sure curiosity will eventually get the better of me.
 

Jeff Swearingen

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Now that I've got my copy of UC, does anyone have a complete list of Hitchcock that is available on DVD so I can see what gaps I need to fill in? I've got 37 of his films on DVD + I Confess on VHS (still have to replace those crappy laserlight 39 steps and lady vanishes with criterion versions). I'm always eager to fill in the holes!
 

Ken_McAlinden

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Watched half of it last night. Colors are as Robert Harris described them. The audio also has a tremendous amount of hiss. I don't like the use of hiss-reducing digital noise reduction, as the artifacts are usually worse to my ears than the hiss it tries to eliminate, but I'm a firm believer in the old-fashioned method for noise reduction: use the earliest generation viable version of the final sound mix for transfer. If this DVD reflects the best sound element available, that's a darn shame.

That being said, it is an improvement over the wretched VHS which constituted my only previous viewings of the film. According to the Hitchcock/Truffaut book, this film was such a financial flop that Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein lost it to their creditors, so who knows how it has changed hands and what elements have survived over the years? It certainly deserves better. While not Hitchcock's best work, I'd still rather watch it 20 times before watching "The Paradine Case" (which, BTW, received a very nice transfer from Anchor Bay) again.

Regards,
 

Robert Crawford

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Ken,
I'm in agreement about the quality of the dvd versus my previous viewing of the film. Like you, I only made it through half of the dvd so far and will try to finish it up today or tomorrow.

Was it on this forum that I read that Hitchcock wished he used Burt Lancaster in place of Joseph Cotton for this film? Also, I think Ingrid Bergman was miscast in her role.





Crawdaddy
 

Bill Burns

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The Paradine Case is an odd duck, but I love it all the same, and I fully agree, Ken -- Anchor Bay's transfer is a treat. As this is the only Anchor Bay Hitch not revisited by Criterion (ah, Rebecca ...), I'd certainly recommend the disc to Hitch completists. Anything starring Alida Valli (The Third Man) has its built-in charms ... but Hitch's use of close-up in this film feels distinct from anything else he did, which I think is why it fascinates me despite its lackluster story.

I'm a tremendous Cotten fan, to say nothing of Ingrid Bergman, so the temptations of Under Capricorn remain strong, but if the colors are a disappointment, I just don't think I could bear it (a washed out Ingrid? Perish the thought). With all of this talk of fidelity to beautiful original elements, though, I'm most intrigued by Dial M for Murder, and continue to hope Warner Bros. comes around in the field sequential 3D department. As much quality Hitch as there is on disc, we still have quite a way to go, it seems ....
 

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