Under Capricorn

Discussion in 'DVD' started by TimJS, Mar 31, 2003.

  1. TimJS

    TimJS Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2001
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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
     
  2. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2001
    Messages:
    13,063
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  3. Doug Pyle

    Doug Pyle Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 1998
    Messages:
    285
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Location:
    Middle of the Pacific
    Real Name:
    Doug
    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.
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    10,061
    Likes Received:
    6,793
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    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.
     
  5. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2001
    Messages:
    6,190
    Likes Received:
    76
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Livonia, MI USA
    Real Name:
    Kenneth McAlinden
    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,
     
  6. Reagan

    Reagan Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    546
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Reagan
     
  7. Richard Waller

    Richard Waller Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  8. Charlie Essmeier

    Charlie Essmeier Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 1999
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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
     
  9. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2002
    Messages:
    1,348
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    10,061
    Likes Received:
    6,793
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    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
     
  11. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    263
    Trophy Points:
    610
    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.
     
  12. John Alderson

    John Alderson Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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 [​IMG] Thanks for the report.
     
  13. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  14. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 23, 2003
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Windermere, FL
    Real Name:
    Jeff
    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!
     
  15. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So you "confess" that you have one on VHS? [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 23, 2003
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Windermere, FL
    Real Name:
    Jeff
    yes, I think that it's the only Hitch VHS I own and haven't tried to dump simply because I don't believe it's available yet!
     
  17. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,533
    Likes Received:
    324
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Bolton, Lancashire
    Real Name:
    John
     
  18. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2001
    Messages:
    6,190
    Likes Received:
    76
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Livonia, MI USA
    Real Name:
    Kenneth McAlinden
    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,
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,331
    Likes Received:
    6,582
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert

    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
     
  20. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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 ....
     

Share This Page