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I Confess (1953)

Cast: Montgomery Clift, Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, more...
Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Drama, Crime
Running Time: 94 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Based on the turn-of-the-century play Our Two Consciences by Paul Anthelme, Hitchcock's I Confess is set in Quebec. Montgomery Clift plays a priest who hears the confession of church sexton O.E. Hasse. "I...killed...a man" whispers Hasse in tight closeup--and, bound by the laws of the Confessional, Clift is unable to turn Hasse over to the police. But police-inspector Karl Malden has a pretty good idea who the guilty party is: all evidence points to Clift. It seems that the dead man had been blackmailing Anne Baxter, who was once in a factually innocent, but seemingly exploitable compromising position with Clift. Tried for murder, Clift is released due to lack of evidence, but he is ruined in the eyes of the community. Then it is Hasse's turn to make that One Fatal Error. I Confess is frequently dismissed as a lesser Hitchcock, due mainly to the quirky performance of Montgomery Clift (who, it is said, steadfastly refused to take direction). Today, four decades removed from its on-set intrigues, the film has taken its place as one of the best of Hitchcock's "between the classics" efforts. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Interesting, but a Miss by randomcha October 30, 2005 - 6:50 AM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
A frustrating view because there's so much wasted potential here. Hitchcock does what he can, but was clearly defeated by the censors. You can tell he was aiming for a Kafkaesque nightmare of guilt and accusation. The Production Code wouldn't allow it. (Watch the bonus doc on the DVD about the original ending, an ending which would have worked much better). Hitch used the same set-up much more effectively with "The Wrong Man," a near-classic still waiting to be rediscovered. However, "I Confess" DOES have a riveting performance by Montgomery Clift. It's all the more remarkable because he's communicating everything with his EYES. If it wasn't for Clift, the extraordinarily arresting black & white cinematography, and the beautiful Quebec atmosphere, the film would be a total misfire. Still worth a look for Hitchcock completists.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.76)
38 Votes
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