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Alfred Hitchcock: The Shape of Suspense

Sunday, March 3, 2013
5:00 p.m. Under Capricorn
Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1949)

Imported 35mm print!
Watch the trailer

"Easily one of Alfred Hitchcock’s half-dozen greatest films, Under Capricorn has been senselessly neglected for years just because it isn’t a thriller."—Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

This colonial gothic set in 1831 Australia emphasizes emotional and social tensions over more overt thrills, but its entanglement of guilt with love, and of romantic melodrama with class-conscious comedy, is typically Hitchcock. Ingrid Bergman stars as a noblewoman ruined by drink and isolation since her marriage to former stablehand, transported convict, and now prosperous landowner Joseph Cotten. When a newly arrived young gentleman takes an interest in Bergman’s welfare, he inadvertently brings the household’s secrets to the surface—including those of housemaid Margaret Leighton, an insinuating, malevolent presence to rival Rebecca’s Mrs. Danvers. The extended takes that Hitchcock famously used in Rope are here fluidly executed by the great Technicolor cinematographer Jack Cardiff.

—Juliet Clark

• Written by James Bridie, Hume Cronyn, based on a novel by Helen Simpson and a play by John Colton, Margaret Linden. Photographed by Jack Cardiff. With Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, Michael Wilding, Margaret Leighton. (117 mins, Color, 35mm, From BFI/NFTVA)