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UNDER CAPRICORN

Director: ALFRED HITCHCOCK

117 minutes, U.S.A., 1949, Colour, 35mm


A classic example of, in French terms, the film maudit, the honourable failure. A commercial and critical flop for Transatlantic on release, it was ranked high by the French critics of the late 1950s within their pioneering list of Best Films, and it is not hard to see why. Mostly, it continues the Rope technique of virtuoso long takes; the relentless scrutiny of the camera builds up great tension in a story based on repressed memories and the therapeutic effect of confession.

The setting is 1830s Australia, and the characters are Irish exiles shaped by Anglo-Irish class conflicts; Hitchcock abandoned the original plan to shoot at least a prologue on Irish location, and none of the stars are Irish, but it remains his most Irish film after Juno and the Paycock, and for a Dublin audience surely unmissable.

This event is part of The Genius of Alfred Hitchcock: Part Four, the final part of our complete retrospective of Hitchcock’s 52 surviving films (March 2nd – 31st).

 

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