Under Capricorn and the Hitchcockian Melodrama of Trauma, Recovery, and Remarriage

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Book Chapter

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Under Capricorn (1949), like many of Hitchcock’s best films, and in fact all three of the films that he made with Ingrid Bergman, revolves around the axes of disintegration and reintegration. It is a stunning portrait of (to allude to a later film that glosses it in intriguing ways) a “woman under the influence” and her uneven and strenuous effort to navigate through and beyond extraordinary pressures: from inside, forces of circumstance, and intimate relationships. The signs of Henrietta’s disintegration and distress are readily apparent, memorable, and often commented upon. Less so are the signifiers of her recovery, which occur in a roughly linear sequence.