Re-visiting a Lesser-Known Hitchcock Film

A screening with Cine-Club’s Philippe Spurrell

Sunday, January 22

6:30-9:30 p.m.

Cinéma de Sève

1400 de Maisonneuve W.

(Métro Guy-Concordia)

General Admission $8

Students/Seniors $6

A brief conversation will follow the film, animated by Philippe Spurrell and Murray Shugar of the Montreal Jung Society.


In 1831, Irishman Charles Adare travels to Australia to start a new life with the help of his cousin who has just been appointed governor. When he arrives he meets powerful landowner and ex-convict Sam Flusky, who wants to do a business deal with him. Whilst attending a dinner party at Flusky's house, Charles meets Flusky's wife Henrietta whom he had known as a child back in Ireland. Henrietta is an alcoholic and seems to be on the verge of madness.

    This was only the second film by Hitchcock to be made in colour. Because it was not as popular as most of his other works, it has unfortunately fallen into obscurity. This is a rare occasion to resurrect it and take a closer look to see just what a fine and misunderstood work it is. Inspired by the director’s film of the previous year, ROPE (1948), it contains quite a few long fluid takes under the guidance of legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff. The cast includes Michael Whiting, Joseph Cotton and Ingrid Bergman, who gives a stellar performance as the repressed and complex Henrietta.

      For this screening, a lovely 35mm print with French subtitles has been secured. It can now be viewed as it was when originally released in 1949.

UNDER CAPRICORN is above all, like SPELLBOUND (where Bergman plays a psychoanalyst), VERTIGO or MARNIE, a film that reveals Hitchcock’s fascination with the unconscious, repressed thoughts and psychological problems. This fascination is no doubt more profound and fundamental for him than crime or suspense. Here, the relationship between Henrietta and Charles allows him to explore trauma as catharsis or therapy. Because it was not the usual suspense thriller people had come to expect from Hitchcock and because Bergman was embroiled in a scandal with Roberto Rossellini at the time, many viewers did not react well to it upon its initial release in 1949. However, it has since come to be regarded as one of Hitchcock’s most important films by ardent supporters at "Cahier du Cinéma" and by Peter Bogdanovitch, film historian and director of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. To help us better understand this psychologically complex work, co-presenters, The C.G. Jung Society of Montreal, will be hosting a lively discussion afterwards.

Ciné-Club info can be found at 


Or at https://www.facebook.com/cineclubfilmsociety/

Philippe Spurrell is the director of C/FS (Le Cinéclub de Montréal/The Film Society), an organization he founded in 1992. C/FS meets every second Sunday at Concordia University cinemas. Their programming focuses on the first hundred years of the art and is fed by its own large archive of 16mm and 35mm prints.


It is with great shock and sadness that that we have just learned of the death of our dear friend Guy Corneau.


    May his friends and family know that he will be sorely missed by members of our Montreal Jung Society and that we share their grief at this time. 

     His joyous nature will be long remembered.

     James Hollis has offered the following poem: 

William (Johnson) Cory. 1823–1892
THEY told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead, 
They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed. 
I wept as I remember'd how often you and I 
Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky. 
And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,         
A handful of grey ashes, long, long ago at rest, 
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake; 
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.