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.

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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.

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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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A Letter of Love: Persuasion (2007)

Romantic Moment #14

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Persuasion (2007)

So first of all:

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So last year I ended the Romance is in the Air posts with Northanger Abbey. I thought this could become a tradition, always ending on a Jane Austen film. Hmmm…I wonder what next year will bring? Who knows?

Anyways, so two of my favorite Jane Austen books/films are Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. I mean I love the others, but I feel like these two are really forgotten by the fans and never gets any love.  Which is just not fair because they are fantastic books and movies. They deserve fans!!! Love them!

Bruce-Almighty-Love-Me

Okay, let’s step back from the crazy. Sorry.

So Persuasion is a wish fullfillment piece by Jane Austen. Jane fell in love with a rich man from a good family, very Pride & Prejudice, but his family strongly disapproved and took him away from her in order to make sure their attraction didn’t turn into something scandalous like marriage. While Jane had offers from other men, she never stopped loving him and waited for him to come back into her life. (So now that you know this you will understand this movie/book even better.) Another fun,  fun is not the right word let’s go with interesting  an interesting fact, Jane died before this and Northanger Abbey were published so she didn’t name them. Her brother, who had them published, decided what they should be called based on what he thought would be interesting.

So, anyways, the film begins with nineteen-year old Anne Elliot getting engaged (secretly) to young naval officer Frederick Wentworth. However, her mother figure (as her mom is dead) and family friend, Lady Russell, convinces her to end the engagement. She tells her she is too young, that it is risky marrying an officer going off to war, he could die, she could end up a widow, she could be penniless, etc. (Lady Russell brings up some good points, but she also wanted to end the marriage as Anne was a higher station and had more money. She thought Fredrick Wentworth wasn’t good enough for her Anne.) Anne really values Lady Russell’s opinion and breaks off the engagement, even though it breaks her heart and she regrets it everyday.

Fast forward eight years and things have drastically changed. Anne’s father, Sir Walter, and older sister, Elizabeth, have squandered A LOT of the family fortune on their vanity. Anne tried to reign in the spending, but no one would listen as her sister has the position of running the home (that is until she is married). They now have to lease out their home and reside somewhere else. And just who should be living in their home, Admiral Croft and Mrs. Croft. Mrs. Croft just happens to be Frederick Wentworth’s sister. And to even add to it, her brother has had an increase in his fortunes. He made so much money in maritime victories during the Napoleonic wars. (He had no one to live for so he took A LOT of risks and they paid, boy did they pay.) He also was promoted to Captain.

Her father and sister leave for Bath, where they will be spending the season. Anne goes to see her bratty, hypochondriac, annoying, selfish, younger, sister, Mary. (As you can tell I don’t like her.) Mary is married to Charles Musgrove, a guy who wanted to marry Anne but she turned down as she still loved Frederick. He then married his sister to spite her, and spent the rest of his life (and family’s life) regretting that choice. Mary lives nearby the old Elliot homestead, so wouldn’t you know it, she runs into Frederick several times.

awkward-look-on-face1

To make matters worse, Frederick is so hurt and still heartbroken that he just ignores her and won’t say anything. This pains Anne as she still loves him and is just bursting to tell him how she feels but scared. And then to further rub salt in the wound, Charles’ younger, pretty, single, sisters are both making a play for him.

ouch

And not only does he like it (of course, duh); but he totally plays it up in front of her. Just like a guy.

jerk

Although I totally get what he’s doing. I mean she turned him down and didn’t do it in the best way. He started thinking she was only interested in the fact that he had no money, otherwise a “Good Charlotte Witch“.

Anyways, so the rest of the family has no clue what happened between Anne and Capt. Wentworth. So they purposely keep trying to bring Wentworth over. The one sister, Henrietta, stops her flirtations with Wentworth as her cousin is deeply into her. Everyone believes that Wentworth will ask for Louisa’s hand, but he still hasn’t gotten over Anne, but is just trying to get at her.

The whole family decides to travel down to Lyme Regis, with Wentworth to visit his friend,  Captain Harville and Captain James Benwick. Benwick recently lost his fiancé, the sister of Harville, and is stilll grieving her. He loves poetry and he and Anne become close. People start speculating about more happening between them, which does not make Wentworth happy.  Anne also attracts the attention of the Elliots’ long-estranged cousin, and her father’s heir, William Elliot. Also disturbing Wentworth.

Jealous

Things change when Louisa suffers from a fall and gets a serious concussion, because of her stubborn behavior (she’s the girl that does whatever she wants). Anne is the only able to keep her head and assist her. The Musgroves care for her and Anne goes to Bath. Captain Wentworth faces the fact that when Louisa recovers he may be tied to her forever, which is something he is not so sure he wants to do.

In Bath, Anne finds out that her father and Mr. Elliot, her cousin, have fixed their relationship. Elizabeth assumes that he wishes to court her while Lady Russell more correctly suspects that he admires Anne.  Anne doesn’t really like Mr. Elliot, she feels like something is not right about him and tries to avoid him as much as possible.

Admiral Croft, having heard a rumour of Mr. Elliot’s proposal to Anne, sends Wentworth to ask Anne if she and her new husband require them to quit Kellynch Hall. Anne informs Wentworth that Admiral Croft has been  misinformed.

24629465There’s hope!

Soon the Crofts, Musgroves, Benwick, Harville, Wentworth, etc; the whole crew comes to Bath. Louisa is engaged, but not to Wentworth, but Benwick. Wentworth is not happy about Mr. Elliot’s attentions to Anne, not at all. Anne also goes to visit her friend, Mrs. Smith, who is a struggling widow. She tells Anne that Mr. Elliot is not a nice guy at all. He has been so determined to inherit everything that he has been going after Sir Walter’s love interest in order to ensure he doesn’t remarry and have a son. Anne is shocked, but it reaffrims her feelings of mistrust toward him.

Wentworth is moved by what he overhears Anne says about women never giving up their feelings of love even when all hope is lost. This makes him brave enough to share his feelings and he writes her a letter telling her how he feels.  Anne recieves the letter and runs after Wentworth, there he proposes and she accepts. We fast forward, and Wentworth is surprising Anne with a gift. It’s her old house!

Most Romantic Moment: 

He writes one of the most beautiful letters ever! Now the thing I really love about Persuasion is you can just feel for the characters, everyone has experienced rejection and heartbreak; and the hardest thing can be trying to put yourself out there. So we have Wentworth who loved Anne, had his heart thrown through a shedder. He realizes that he loves Anne, but should he say something? Does she still love him? Is she angry over the way he treated her? Has she moved on? Will she reject him again? This has to be one of the bravest and romantic things ever.

I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

F. W.

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never. 

So romantic!

So romantic!

That is so romantic, just laying everything out like that. He totally threw caution aside and just told her everything.

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So romatic! And that is just one of the best ways to try and win a girl back. Conclusion:

BoysinBksSo now because it is my blog, and I want to, I am going to review my favorite parts of the letter.

You pierce my soul

not too late

offermyheart

lovedyou

For you alone

A word look

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So that ends this Valentine countdown. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday whether you are single or in a relationship. Eat lots of candy, wear red, watch sappy movies; that’s what I’ll be doing. 😀

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For more Persuasion go to A Frederick Wentworth Sighting, Let’s Hear it for the Boysand On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas

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In other news:

Yay!

 

For the 100th post, go to Wanna Grow Old With You: The Wedding Singer (1998)

For the 300th post, go to That’s What You Get

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