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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The Hunger Games: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

So the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is based on the beloved children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Thew story is of a young, poor, low-income, starving, boy who is chosen to compete against four other children to not only win enough chocolate and candy for their lifetime, but also a grand, secret prize.  Very Interesting, I know, but you are probably wondering what does that have to do with The Hunger Games? A young girl from a starving district competing to the death against 23 others to win food for her family and community?

This:

1stHungerGames

Now it is not exactly like The Hunger Games, Willy Wonka is a nice guy who really wants to help people, Charlie is the only poor, suffering guy, and you hate everyone else as they are whiny brats. But, there are some similarities. So now presenting the Hunger Games: The Chocolate Factory!

And it's going to be fabulous!

And it’s going to be fabulous!

So what’s different for this version is that we will have one tribute, from only five districts, all competing to survive Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. All who survive win chocolate, the ultimate winner gets the factory themselves, food and money for their families. Let the games begin!!!

District 1

District 1’s industry is making luxury items for the Capitol. It is considered to be the wealthiest district, the only other wealthier area being the Capitol itself.

Now presenting our tribute for district one

verucasalt-cashmere

Veruca Salt

Strengths:

  • Loud voice that causes immense pain
  • Very good at manipulating people and getting what she wants
  • Has people to do hard things for her
  • Doesn’t take no for an answer
  • Can cry on command
  • Isn’t afraid to lie or crush others to get what she wants
  • Questions everything

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Won’t take no for an answer to the point where she knocks herself out
  • Whines all the time

Can Be Defeated:

  • By a kick in the pants
  • Saying NO! and meaning it
  • Boat Rides
  • Seasickness
  • Geese (Especially those who are golden)

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 3

District 3’s primary industry is general electronics of many types, though it is known for also making various mechanical products such as automobiles and firearms. These tributes are always skilled with electronics.

Now presenting our tribute for district three

MikeTeeveebeetee

Mike Teevee

Strengths:

  • Knows every TV show that has a gun in it (huge pop culture junkie)
  • Can use knowledge gained from TV in real life
  • Can sit still for hours
  • Questions everything
  • Can shoot a fake gun
  • Doesn’t scare or get grossed out easily
  • Willing to try new things
  • Eager volunteer

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Can’t be away from the TV
  • Will try to shoot anything and everything
  • Missing front teeth
  • Can’t read
  • Sometimes overeagerness to try new things leaves him in bad situations
  • Doesn’t listen to rules

Can Be Defeated:

  • Bubble Foam
  • Saying NO! and meaning it
  • Books
  • By shrinking him

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 6

District 6’s industry is transportation

Now presenting our tribute for district six

District_6_Female_VioltB

Violet Beauragarde

Strengths:

  • Chewing gum champ
  • Can chew and talk
  • Rather chew than eat
  • Fast talker
  • Likes to save things
  • Will do whatever it takes to win, even if it means losing friends
  • Bossy
  • Head-strong and Obstinate
  • Does whatever she wants
  • Can wheel and deal like no other
  • Delights in pain of others

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Hard to understand through constant chewing
  • A braggart
  • Doesn’t listen to “no”
  • Does whatever she wants
  • Picks her nose

Can Be Defeated:

  • Blueberries
  • The color blue or purple
  • Throwing away her three-month old gum
  • By rolling her

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 9

District 9’s industry is grain. Little is known about this district, just that there are lots of farmland for grain.

Now presenting our tribute for district nine

AugGloopDistrict_9_Male

Augustus Gloop

Strengths:

  • Can eat ANYTHING
  • Never stops eating
  • Is one huge mass that won’t easily be pushed around
  • Fast runner when it comes to food
  • Likes to be first in everything

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Has no patience
  • No self-control
  • Is always hungry
  • Can’t swim
  • Doesn’t like small spaces
  • Doesn’t listen

Can Be Defeated:

  • By not giving him food and having him starve
  • Drowning in water or chocolate
  • Sticking him in  tight spot, such as a pipe
  • Let him go first so he can face things and die

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 12

District 12’s industry is coal. This district is one of the poorest districts. The district has not had a winner of the Hunger Games emerge from the ranks of its residents for over twenty-four years.

Now presenting our tribute for district twelve

Peeta-Mellark-charliebucket

Charlie Bucket

Strengths:

  • Has a heart of gold
  • Cares for others
  • Would never steal from someone
  • Always tries to help others out
  • Thinks first of others needs
  • Hard worker
  • Knows how to make things last
  • Can get by on little food
  • Trustworthy
  • Listens to directions

Weaknesses:

  • Is an enabler
  • Has a passion for fizzy-lifting drinks
  • Easily lead astray
  • Gulps food too fast

Can Be Defeated:

  • Fans

LET THE GAME BEGIN

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MAY THE ODDS EVER BE IN YOUR FAVOR!

If you liked this post, check out Sucky Sequels