Newest Review: ... 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... more
Intrigue, murder, blackmail and the cloth
I Confess (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
I Confess (DVD)
Advantages: Brilliant storyline, well-acted, suspenseful
Disadvantages: Music is a bit in your face
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!
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Summary: One of Hitchcock's best