I CONFESS

(1953)
With Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, Brian Aherne, O. E. Hasse
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

Sometimes, even priests need to know where the bathroom is     JB:  The 1950s were eclectic years for Alfred Hitchcock in which, aside from making several of his greatest films (STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, VERTIGO and NORTH BY NORTHWEST) the master came as close as possible to hitting the mark every time out.  Several of these films remain problematic (STAGE FRIGHT and THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY among them) but there is not a truly bad film in the bunch.

    I CONFESS is an underrated and often unmentioned film in the Hitchcock canon.  Filmed primarily on location in Canada, I CONFESS cannot really be classified as a suspense thriller, at least not the usual Hitchcock suspense thriller.  The story of a priest who is bound by sacred duty not to reveal the confession of murderer, I CONFESS lacks the glamor of most of the other Hitch films of the decade except THE WRONG MAN.  Montgomery Clift may have been Hitch's first encounter with a Method Actor, a school the director abhorred. It has been noted that Hitch did not appreciate Clift's style of acting, which was the polar opposite of the director's thoughts on what actors should do, yet he had no problems with Clift personally and found him fascinating.  Clift is certainly fine as Father Logan, tortured by his unwillingness to turn on the murderer even as he himself is put on trial for the crime.

    Although the film holds up today, it was not a hit in its day, and lead Hitch to play it safe with his next film DIAL M FOR MURDER, a glamorous, colorful and much-more typical Hitchcock film. - JB

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