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RELEASED: 1953, Cert. PG
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 95 mins
DIRECTOR: Alfred Hitchcock
PRODUCERS: Sidney Bernstein & Alfred Hitchcock
SCREENPLAY: George Tabori & William Archibald
MUSIC: Dimitri Tiomkin
Montgomery Clift as Father Michael Logan
O E Hasse as Otto Keller
Dolly Haas as Alma Keller
Anne Baxter as Ruth Grandfort
Roger Dann as Pierre Grandfort
Karl Malden as Inspector Larrue
Brian Aherne as Willy Robertson
FILM ONLY REVIEW
I Confess opens with a man dressed in priest's clothing, running away from a murder scene. As he flees down the almost empty street, he removes the cassock, flinging it to the ground.
Later that same night, Otto Kellar, who, with his wife Alma is caretaker of a Catholic church where Father Michael is a priest, seeks out Father Michael who is working late at the church and confesses that he has murdered a lawyer called Villette whilst trying to steal some money from him.
When the police learn from two girls who saw a man dressed in priest's attire running away from Villette's house just after the time of the murder, Father Michael Logan becomes the number one suspect. Father Logan is unable to provide a reliable alibi as to his whereabouts when the murder was committed, as he has a secret of his own, nor for reasons of confidentiality in his role as a priest, is he able to reveal what Otto Kellar admitted to him in the confession box.
As a result of police questioning, a big skeleton comes flying out of Father Logan's closet, which initially seems as if it could prove his innocence, but instead it results in complicating matters further.
I Confess is apparently based on a 1902 French play written by Paul Anthelme which Hitchcock had seen during the 1930s and was so impressed, he decided to make a film of it which was set and made in Quebec.
Immediately I saw the man in priest's attire fleeing the murder scene, I was gripped. Although that opening is constructed in a very simple way, the suspense levels are already firmly set, and continue to escalate throughout the film.
I Confess was shot in black and white, together with the acting style and musical score being typical of the era. The music is very overbearing, comprised of dramatic violins, and for me comes across as far too loud, although it doesn't interfere with what the actors are saying. As far as the acting abilities of the cast is concerned and bearing in mind that I Confess was made in the early 1950s, everybody was perfect, with my favourite being Montgomery Clift as the chief murder suspect, Father Michael Logan. Clift expressed a wide range of emotions on his face throughout the film, and did a marvellous job of portraying a religious leader who feels anger at what he is unjustly being accused of, yet is bound by the rules of his faith and priesthood to keep his confessor's dark secret.
As well as being a film which concentrates on a priest having to make some very difficult decisions, there is also an escalation of tension as the case threatens to spiral out of control. There is a very good court scene which is well-presented, the film's dialogue being at its best during this part.
I Confess isn't a 'whodunnit', as the murderer's identity is revealed within the first ten minutes of the film. Similarly to Hitchcock's 1972 movie Frenzy, this is a tale of a man wrongly suspected of murder attempting to prove his innocence, but the finer details of the storyline and the situation are very different.
With not a dull moment, I Confess is a gripping, very well cast and created film that has a couple of twists and turns, yet sadly does leave one loose end hanging; however, that isn't a problem, being negligible (maybe even unnoticeable to some?) due to the movie's overall excellence.
I Confess is filmed in black and white, and I have mixed feelings about that, although accept such was pretty much the norm for something released as long ago as 1953. In one sense, the black and white filming adds to the suspense levels, as sometimes I find colour in more modern day productions can water down the intensity as I feel such would have been the case with this film were it not in black and white, but the addition of colour would have made various urban street and rural Quebec scenes far more stunning.
Providing you can accept the age of this film and not try to technologically compare it to what we are now used to and expect from cinema, I'm sure you will find I Confess an intriguing, gripping crime/drama production which would appeal to both fans and non-fans of Hitchcock's sparkling repertoire of movies. This in my opinion is a film which shouldn't be missed, being one of the master of suspense's best offerings.
At the time of writing, I Confess can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.99 to £19.99
Used: from £1.38 to £10.00
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
When the Pope writes a letter apologising about something, it should be considered a big deal. The Vatican and Catholic Church have made some big mistakes in their time, but rarely do they apologise for them. Therefore, when the Pope says that what happened in Ireland over the past 40 years was wrong, he is admitting it happened. The argument is that the Fathers involved have a right to confession. If someone goes in expecting their secrets to remain between them and their priest, then surely that should happen? By keeping their silence the Church can at least try to help those that would have otherwise remain silent forever. However, if someone admits to an appalling act, is it not the law to tell the police? This is not a new phenomenon, Hitchcock explored the sanctity and issues surrounding confession all the way back in 1953.
When young Father Logan is tidying up the church he is forced to here the confession of a desperate man. Otto Keller is an immigrant who lives with his wife in the Church grounds and acts as a handyman. Whilst visiting a shady neighbour he flies into a rage and mistakenly kills the man! Now that Father Logan holds the burden of knowledge will he go to the police? The sanctity of confession means that he cannot. The burden gets ever heavier when he himself becomes the chief suspect. The dead man was blackmailing a female friend of the priest, a woman that Father Logan once dated and that the police still believe he has feelings for. Will Father Logan confess the truth to the courts before he is hanged for another man's crimes?
I am a huge fan of Hitchcock's films, but like with any prolific director, some of his work is better than others. I have found that even the most average of Hitchcock's work is interesting on some level, be it via cinematography or concept. Therefore, it was a surprise to see how run of the mill 'I Confess' was; almost as if the director was obligated to release an bog standard thriller before being allowed to work on something he actually wanted to. The classic Hitchcock elements are present and should be set up for a good film; the femme fatalle and the wrongly accused man are stables of the director, but in 'I Confess', it just does not work.
One issue is that by using the mistaken identity ploy Hitchcock is automatically placing 'I Confess' up for comparison with his own films. Films like 'The Wrong Man' and 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' are similar in nature, but far more compelling. The lack of drive in the film is down to a couple of issues. The first is the core concept itself. For the film to work you really have to believe that Father Logan would sacrifice his life rather than simply telling the authorities about the murder. There are some convoluted reasons why perhaps Logan would not want to suggest who the murderer is, but really it is down to the confession. However, I have to believe that a moral man would want a killer brought to justice, sure in the knowledge that his place with God was still sound.
Even if you can suspend your disbelief with the central conceit of confession, there are other major issues. The casting is pretty poor throughout. Montgomery Clift as Father Logan is as about as wooden as they come. He gives no sense of urgency or emotion to the character as he sees his life slip away. I would think that a Father with so little compassion would not be popular with his congregation. Playing opposite him is Anne Baxter as Ruth Grandfort. Somehow she also manages to come across as cold, making the film feel heartless.
With a bland cast, Hitchcock appears to be on auto pilot as the film progresses. The unique directorial flourishes are not apparent, and the script is seemingly taken without change from a stage play. The fact that the story hinges on a slightly convoluted set of circumstances means that as a viewer you are unable to truly commit to the film. In the end, 'I Confess' is a slightly dull thriller that is one of Hitchcock's weaker films.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Montgomery Clift and Anne Baxter
Price: Amazon uk £4.96
Like with many Hitchcock films there are several versions that you can get on DVD. The copy I have is a clean print with one featurette about the making of the film. Like all the DVDs in the series the documentary is informative, but does use some of the same material over separate films.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION :
Multi-talented director Alfred Hitchcock directed and also produced the movie "I Confess". This crime/thriller genre movie was released in 1953 and famous American actor Montgomery Clift played the title role as Father Logan.The story of this movie based on a 1902 French play and the script re-wrote by George Tabori. The story of this movie revolves around guilty conscience of a German immigrant and his activities.
MAIN CHARACTERS :
* Montgomery Clift plays the role of Father Michael Logan (An ex freedom-fighter and a kind-hearted Catholic priest in Quebec City)
* O.E. Hasse plays the role of Otto Keller(A German immigrant, who comes in Quebec city looking for work and Father Logan appointed him as the caretaker of the church)
* Anne Baxter plays the role of Ruth Grandfort (Wife of a famous Quebec Parliament member and she was romantically involved with Father Logan before war. )
* Karl Malden Inspector Larrue(A hard-working and honest police detective, who tries to solve the recent murder)
PLOT SYNOPSIS :
This movie opens with a murder scene, where the German immigrant Otto Keller murders his employer (a rich lawyer named Villette). Later Mr. Keller visits his good friend and mentor Father Logan and confesses his crime. Police gets to know about this murder and starts looking for the murderer.
So the story tells us, how the local police department able to discover the motive and hidden conspiracies behind the murder, and how they catch the killer and punish him. This movie has a very thrilling and engaging plot-line and I really enjoyed watching this.
MY PERSONAL THOUGHT :
Alfred Hitchcock is a multi-talented pioneer of crime/thriller genre movies in modern world cinema. He has covered a diverse ground as the themes of his movies. Most of the themes/story lines are very unique, suspenseful and well executed on-screen. Mr. Hitchcock got the idea for directing "I Confess" from a 1902 French play. Though, he used a famous writer to rewrite the whole script to make it more presentable and believable on screen.I am really impressed with this movie. This movie is distinctly different from other Hitchcock's thriller movies. Here, the viewers get to know about the killer in a first couple of scenes. So there is no suspenseful theme (like "who did it and why did it") in this movie. Instead this movie dealt with the guilty conscience of the killer and how he acts after the crime. This movie gives a vivid but honest idea about complex human mind, which leads a person to do very strange activities.
German Immigrant Otto Keller and his wife Alma came to Quebec City, Canada looking for a better life. However, they could not find a decent job with good money. So they work hard in various places to earn their living. Mr. Hitchcock presented the Character of Otto Keller in such an impressive and excellent way that viewers instantly feel connected with this character. Mr. Hitchcock did not rush out to reveal the main twist of this movie. Instead, he took the time to explain each character and their different background to the viewers. He did not specify on a certain character in this movie, but he emphasizes on the whole story-line and gives each character equal importance. As I told before, the story of this movie is very unique and it is an extremely difficult task to grab the attention of viewers, when they already know about the main criminal and his brutal crime. But, here we can experience the supreme talent of legendary Alfred Hitchcock. Despite telling the main twist in the first couple of scenes, he still manages to hold the undivided attention and interest of a normal viewer. I really enjoy the tense situation and thrilling moments of this movie. I really appreciate the way Mr. Hitchcock reveals each part of the story and connects each part to one another. It has a very moving and continuous flow in the story line which is truly brilliant and highly enjoyable.
Famous American actor Montgomery Clift plays the title character in this movie. Mr. Clift was a highly talented actor and received numerous prestigious awards for his brilliant acting as well as four nominations for Academy Awards. This was one and only time, when this two highly talented personality (Hitchcock and Clift) worked together in the same movie. Here, Mr. Clift portrayed a very difficult and sensitive character of Father Logan. He did an excellent job in this character. Father Logan is very kind, brave and devoted catholic priest. He truly believes in religious values and always tries his best to serve the people. He has a brilliant facial expression with supple body movements. He has a gracious and strong personality on screen and he also got some brilliant dialogues in this movie. I really enjoyed the acting of M. Clift in this movie, and I truly believe that, he was the best choice to portray the character of Father Logan.
VIEWERS RECEPTION :
This movie was received mainly positive by both the viewers and also movie critics. Currently this movie holds a rating of 7.2/10 voted by just over five thousand viewers. It was also received positively in Rotten Tomatoes and has 84% fresh ratings.
'''Movie Information :''' http://hitchcock.tv/mov/i_confess/confess.html
'''Movie trailer :''' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H43IqD7mEg
'''IMDB Rating :''' http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045897/
'''RottenTomatoes Rating : '''' http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/i_confess/
FINAL THOUGHT AND RECOMMENDATION :
Ok this is more than 50 years old movie and it's also not a colour movie. It's a black and white movie but directed by the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock and has a remarkable and thought-provoking story-line. I thoroughly enjoyed this crime/thriller movie and I would love to see it again. This movie is an absolute masterpiece and I highly recommend you to buy the DVD and watch it. It's only one and half hour long and well worth of your time. You can buy the DVD from amazon.co.uk and it will cost you only £5.
Thank you very much for reading my review.
'''***This is a movie only review and also posted on Ciao and Helium under the same username***'''