The Past of a Man: Under Capricorn (1949)

under Capricorn

“The past of a man it is something.”

Now this is an Alfred Hitchcock film that is not as well known or talked about, for various reasons. A lot of people think the story is too melodramatic, and others don’t like it because certain elements resemble Rebecca and Gaslight. However, the reason why most people at the time hated it was it came out right after the news of Ingrid Bergman’s affair with Roberto Rossellini, the impeding divorce of her husband Dr. Petter Aron Lindström, and the birth of her twins by Rossellini. (To read more on that go here.) I on the other hand really liked this movie as I love:

  1. Alfred Hitchcock
  2. Ingrid Bergman
  3. Joseph Cotten

Really now, how can you ever think this was horrible?

MeanGirls I know right!

The title “Under Capricorn” references the Tropic of Capricorn, which bisects Australia. As you can tell now that I’ve explained the title, the film is set in Sydney, Australia during the 19th century.

So before we get into the film, we need to touch on the background history. In the 18th-19th century, England tried to discover a better way to deal with the mass amount of criminal activity and overcrowding jail cells. One thing that England did was hanging. However, people began to get upset about that. Some of the crimes were not really all that bad, but yet people were being given the death penalty. In order to have a harsh punishment, less-crowded jails, and less death-transportation became the way to go. Originally convicts were sent America, but with our revolution in 1776, that option was no longer possible. In the 1780s they started sending people to New South Wales, but with the Napoleonic wars, more labor was needed and they stopped the transportation.

After the war, problems arose again and they turned their attention to Australia. Between 1788-1868, they estimate about 165,000 people were sent Australia from a sentence that was usually 3 years to life (average was 7-14 years). Most people who were sent over were guilty of poaching, arson, robbery, and murder.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

They were usually sent to extremely remote areas to prevent escape and discourage any attempt at returning. While it was allowed for people to return after they served their sentence, most people wouldn’t. More often than not they would create a better life in Australia. Typically, criminals would change their names, get land, farm, and create a brand new life for themselves.

This ended in the 1860s, although it had started to drop off by the 1830s. Most of the areas that were for “convicts”, began to become real towns and attracted better emigrants. (Most of this info came from the Victorian Crime and Punishment website, if you would like to check it out)

Now back to the story.

Under Capricorn

So it is 1831 in Sydney, Australia. Sydney is still a frontier with most of the population being ex-convicts. The new Governor, Sir Richard arrives, bringing along his foppish, indolent, “rich boy” nephew, Charles Adare (Michael Wilding).

It's one of those guys!

It’s one of those guys!

So Charles is hoping that he will make a fortune out here in Australia. While there he meets the gruff Samson Flusky. Samson is a convict that had been transported from Ireland out to Australia to serve his time, for murder.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

But now he is a successful buisnessman. He owns a lot of land and makes a lot of dough. He is highly respected in the community.

Joseph Cotton Under capricorne24se

Anyways, so Samson has now reached the legal limit of land he can purchase and needs to look to new ways in order to expand his business. He wants Charles to purchase the land and sell it to Samson, guaranteeing a good profit.

Under Capricorn

Charles is intrigued by the prospect and agree to the invitation of dining at Samson’s house. While there, he has a pleasant surprise. He knows Samson’s wife, Lady Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman).

Under Capricorn Dining eating

She was friends with Charles’ sister but now has encountered a lot of problems. She is an alcoholic and shunned by society as she is seen to be crazy.

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Sam decides to invite Charles to visit as much as he wants, hoping it will help bring his wife out of her current depression.

Now Charles has always had a crush on Henrietta and is confused at her crazed behavior and decline. He asks his uncle about what happened to her. Lady Henrietta was the daughter of one of the fine Irish gentry. To the surprise of everyone, she ran off with one of the handsome stable boys, Samson, to elope in England. Lady Henrietta’s brother went after them and was killed by Samson. Instead of the noose, Samson decided to go to Australia.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Lady Henrietta followed him to Australia and waited seven years for the term to end. After Samson served his years, he was different. He wanted to be rich and to buy everything, but that was never enough. Henrietta was extremely unhappy and began drinking.

Sadface Batman

Now unbeknownst to all, Samson’s housekeeper Milly has a crush on him.

Under-Capricorn-Leighton

She has been running the house and secretly feeding Lady Henrietta alcohol. She is hoping that Henrietta will kill herself, leaving Samson all to Milly.

perfect plan

Charles decides to help try and restore Henrietta’s confidence. At Sam’s urging, he moves into their home. But that’s not all he’s interested in. He has always found Henrietta to be attractive, and now she is vulnerable and needy. He begins to pursue her.

Under Capricorn Kiss

Charles’ work has been going great. In fact, Henrietta gains enough courage to try and take the power back from Milly and put her in her proper place as housekeeper, not wife. Milly turns things around and Henrietta runs up to her room and locks herself in. Charles goes in to talk to her and Milly sees them. She tries to use it to her advantage, telling Sam all kinds of lies about their behavior. This angers Sam, who kicks her right out of the house. (Sam you rock! I always had a soft spot for Sam. I don’t know if it was because he was played by Joseph Cotten or because he just seems like a great guy who has been mistreated.)

Under capricorn

Henrietta is doing much better, and improving more and more each day. In fact she is doing so well, that when she receives an invitation to the Governor’s Ball, she is eager to go. They all get ready, but Sam decides to not go after all. He had purchased a ruby necklace for her, but after overhearing how Henrietta and Charles don’t consider ruby to be the right accessory, he decides not to give it to her. You see Sam has enjoyed having Charles there as he has helped his wife, but at the same time it has been upsetting. With the two together, it makes him realize just how different he and Henrietta are. He thought it could be different in Australia, but sees that moving to a new place hasn’t really changed societal rules.  Sam thinks the rest of the ball will be the same, and that he’ll be too out of his element or that he’ll embarrass himself. He decides to stay home.

Under-Capricorn4

Sad and lonely

At the ball, Henrietta stuns everyone as they all adore her. And more importantly, Henrietta has a great time.

Under Capricorn Dining eating

Back at the house, Milly has returned.

im-back

Milly asks for forgiveness and her job back but also starts talking smack about Henrietta. She tells Samson exaggerated stories of what has been going on between Henrietta and Charles. The two had shared only one kiss, and everything had been instigated by Charles. Milly, on the other hand, insists that Henrietta is the one that has been carrying on and that it has gone much, much further. To further push the issue and him, she tells him that Henrietta is of a different class than her and Samson, and those people do things non-aristocrats could never get away with.

you're evil

I mean seriously this girl is a major jerk.

jerk_alert32

You just need to understand that he loves his wife and back the heck away from him. You- you-

wordICan't say Toy Story

At first Samson shrugs it off. Charles is younger than Henrietta and more concerned about clothing than anything else. But that evil woman Milly keeps pushing him, and when she mentions the differation in classes, that’s where he snaps.

800__shadow_of_a_doubt_blu-ray_04_intense stare angry upset mad creep

Sam goes to the ball, makes a scene, and humiliates Henrietta in front of everyone

under capricorn ball

She returns home, weeping and half-crazed.

Sad and lonely

Sad and lonely

Charles runs after her and tries to help her. He tells her to leave Sam, but Henrietta can’t. She tells Charles that she deeply loves her husband and is bound to him. You see, Sam didn’t shoot her brother, she did.

Say What

Yep, that’s right. Sam has never killed anyone. Henrietta fell in love with Sam as he was kind and handsome. Can you blame her? He’s one attractive man.

MeanGirls I know right!

The two wanted to marry, but it was impossible as Samson was a much lower class than Henrietta. So the ran off to England, but her brother followed them. Her brother tried to kill Samson, but missed and the two struggled. Henrietta took the gun and shot her brother so he wouldn’t kill Samson. Samson took the blame as he didn’t want her to suffer in  jail.

aw cry

Unfortunately, that didm’t actually help. Henrietta couldn’t stay at home, and couldn’t leave Samson by himself so she followed him to Australia. Not only has she been dealing with the guilt of killing her brother, but the guilt of allowing Samson to rot in prison for her deeds. To further this, when Samson came out of prison he was a changed person. This lead to even greater guilt and drove Henrietta to the bottle. No wonder she’s been going crazy.

Sad and lonely

Now even though Henrietta admits this to him, Charles doesn’t really believe her. He thinks it is just her way of trying to protect the man she loves.

When Samson sees Charles in his house with Henrietta, he becomes incensed  for the betrayal and kicks Charles out.

Under Capricorn

Charles steals Sam’s horse and takes off. While riding, the horse breaks its leg, causing Charles to have s a really bad fall. He reluctantly returns to the house and relays the news. Samson goes for his gun to “shoot the horse”, but Charles believes he is going to kill him, as he has “killed” before. The two struggle over the gun and during the conflict, Charles is shot.

Under Capricorn struggle gun

With Samson’s past, he is immediately thrown into prison, to either rot for good or be hanged. Henrietta tries to save him and tells the Attorney General the truth. That Samson has never killed anyone, she did it. This presents a serious problem for Samson. The only way he can get out of his predicament is if he corroborates Henrietta’s story, but then she will be sent back to Ireland to stand trial and imprisonment. If he says his wife is lying, then he will be killed. The Governor is really pushing a conviction as he wants someone to be punished for trying to harm his nephew. The AG gives Samson twenty-four hours to decide.

A no win situation

A no win situation

Back at the house the evil Milly sees the perfect oppurtunity to get Sam. She tries to poison Henrietta and plants a shrunken head on her bed to further scare her. Fortunately, she is discovered and ousted.

Good-bye

Good-bye

Meanwhile Charles has recovered from his wound and vouches for Samson, telling everyone that it was an accident.

Charles is put on a ship back to Ireland, and Samson and Henrietta are now happy. Henrietta has been freed from the poisonous Milly and finally from the guilt of what she did to her brother and Samson. Samson is better as he finally knows that Henrietta truly loves him and that he didn’t destroy her life.

Under Capricorn

All in all, this film really teaches you one thing:

let go past

Yep, sometimes you just need to move on.

1949UnderCapricorn

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For to the previous post, go to Werewolves Roam Among Us.

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to Horrorfest III: The Revenge

For more on Joseph Cotten, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?

For more on Ingrid Bergman, go to I’ll Always Be There When You Need Me

For more on the Victorian Period, go to Redone Done Right

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Even After All This Time: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II

Romantic Moment #13

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (2011)

So during the summer my then boyfriend Michael and I made a deal that for every Harry Potter film I saw he would watch a Jane Austen film. I made this up so that each of us could be a part of something that we both cared about and was a big part our lives growing up. When we broke up (It’s a Wrap and The End),  I had only seen five films and he had seen four. (He still owes me and I totally think he should still have to watch a Jane Austen film, just saying). Anyways, I wanted to finish the series, but since I had soooo many questions and no one to explain everything to me (well I did have my roommate Elaine, but I didn’t want to have to bug her ALL the time), so I decided I would read the books and then watch the films. Check out my Tumblr account to see the stuff I’ve written about the books and films. (Follow Me!) So I originally had another film planned for today, that’s why this is so late, but after watching this one I just felt the need to include it in my postings.

So this film is based on the book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The film is pretty close to the book, but the director made some changes that upset me (mostly the Neville scenes)

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So the films starts off right where Part I ended. Voldemort has just stolen the Elder Wand out of Dumbledore‘s grave.

Totally pulling a Debbie.

Totally pulling a Debbie.

Dobby manages to save Luna, Mr. Ollivander, Hermione, Harry, the goblin, and Ron from Bellatrix Lestrange. However, he himself wasn’t so lucky as he ends up being stabbed and murdered by her. Harry buries him without magic, giving him the honor and respect he deserves. Harry learns that the reason his stolen wand works for him was that he disarmed Draco Malfoy and bested him in battle, thus the wand changing its alliegience. Harry also realizes that a horcrux is hiding in Bellatrix’s vault and that they need to break into the goblin Gringgotts bank. An extremely hard thing to do.

The goblin says he will help them break in, in return he wants the sword of Gryffindor. So Hermione makes up a polyjuice potion of Bellatrix, Ron changes his appearance, and Harry and the goblin use the cloak of invisibility. They go into Gringgotts and make it past the goblins (barely), the dragon, and into the vault. Harry finds the cup of Hufflepuff, but before he can destroy the horcrux, the goblin takes off with the sword; leaving them not only stuck in the bank, but in a fix as the Goblins are cracking down and searching for them.

Appears this goblin had seen Raiders of the Lost Ark too many times as he acts just like Satipo

Appears this goblin had seen Raiders of the Lost Ark too many times as he acts just like Satipo

They use the dragon to escape, setting it free in a way that would have made Hagrid very proud. They travel to Hogsmeade and use a secret passage to get into Hogwarts, becoming aware of the resistance that Neville has been leading against the Death Eater professors and their new headmaster, Snape.

Snape calls everyone to the great hall were he questions them about Harry Potter. Harry appears and McGonagall battles Snape to protect Harry. Snape disapperates, taking the Death Eaters with him; and everyone rejoices. Soon the celebration is over as Voldemort, vis a vie the Joker, asks them to give him Harry and he will spare them all. Voldemort is refused and preparations for the battle begin.

Luna takes Harry to meet Rowena Ravenclaw‘s daughter’s ghost in order to find the lost diadem and the  second to last horcrux. Ron goes down to the Chamber of Secrets where he uses parseltongue to open the doors and retrieve the Basilisk fang and destroy the goblet. Meanwhile, Harry has learned where Voldemort hid the diadem and runs to the Room of Requirement. While there Draco, Gregory Goyle and Blaise Zabini attack Harry, but Ron and Hermione intervene. Goyle uses a Fiendfyre curse, but  is unable to control it, and is burned to death along with destroying the diadem. Malfoy and Zabini almost die, but Harry and Ran save them.

The three go down to the boathouse where they see Voldemort kill Snape, thinking that woth Snape dead he will have full power/control of the Elder wand. Before dying, Harry takes Snape’s memories, in which he uses the  Pensieve to view them.

Harry learns from that Snape loved Harry’s mother, Lily, but hated his father, James, who had bullied him. After she died Snape worked secretly with Dumbledore to protect Harry from Voldemort. Snape’s murder of  Dumbledore’s death at Snape’s hands was planned between them so that Draco wouln’t have to do it.  Harry discovers that he is the last Horcrux must die in order to kill Voldemort. Harry goes to Voldemort who uses the Killing Curse on him.  Harry finds himself in limbo, where he meets up with Dumbledore’s spirit who explains that due to Voldemort killing the Horcrux inside Harry, he is able to return to his body, and defeat Voldemort.

Narcissa realizes that Harry is alive, but doesn’t care about him and the Death eaters only wanting to know if her son is alive. She lies about Harry being dead so that he can save her son. Voldemort returns to Hogwarts to announce Harry’s death. Neville stands up to Voldemort and makes a dramatic speech, and Harry reveals he is still alive and duels with Voldemort throughout the castle. A general battle begins as a defiant Neville draws the Sword of Gryffindor from the Sorting Hat and kills NaginiMolly Weasley kills Bellatrix; etc. . The final stand of Harry and Voldemort’s fight is Harry’s Disarming Charm rebounding Voldemort’s own Killing Curse and obliterating him. After the battle, Harry explains to Ron and Hermione that the Elder Wand recognised him as its true master because he had disarmed Draco, who earlier had disarmed Dumbledore, which then explains why the wand didn’t kill Harry in his final battle with Voldemort. Harry rejects the power of the wand and destroys it.

Nineteen years later, we see Harry, Ginny, Draco, Ron, and Hermione married and happy, dropping their children off for another year at Hogwarts.

Most Romantic Moment:

So the most romantic moment that I picked was one of Snape’s memories. Now I am a huge Snape fan. I just love him so much, he was my favorite character. You just feel so much for him, he was so misunderstood and mistreated, that he turned to the bad crowd because they promised to protect him. After he lost Harry’s mom to James Potter he felt like he lost everything, and only focused on himself and power. A modern-day Heathcliff. But Snape redeems himself. He hears a prophecy and tells Voldemort, but after he realizes that Voldemort plans to kill Lily and her family, he secretly teams up with Dumbledore to ensure their  protection. He continues to help Harry Potter because he is his mother’s son; saving him from Quirrell (Sorcerer’s Stone), protecting him from Ron’s busted wand (Chamber of Secrets), Lupin’s werewolf form (Prisoner of Azkaban), from Umbridge (Order of the Phoenix), from Voldemort (Half-Blood Prince), and giving him the sword of Gryffindor/protecting him from Voldemort (Deathly Hallows).  Snape did it all, even joining the Death Eaters as a double agent to help the Order; all was for Lily.

Snape Lily

So the romantic moment is when Dumbledore is talking to Snape (in his memory) about Harry being the last Horcrux. Snape is upset that they have to send Harry to Voldemort to be killed, wanting to protect Lily’s son. Dumbledore tells Snape that it must be done and questions whether Snape truly loved Lily, because if he did he would not let her die in vain. Snape responds by making his patronus appear. His patronus is a doe, the same as Lily’s. Because he loved her so much, his patronus became what hers was, she was his happiest memory.

So romantic!

So romantic!

And to make that even more romantic:

“Dumbledore: After all this time?

Snape: Always.”

aw

Snape+Lily