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I Confess
I Confess
Actors: Montgomery Clift, Karl Malden
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2004     1hr 35min

Otto Kellar and his wife Alma work as caretaker and housekeeper at a Catholic church in Quebec. Whilst robbing a house where he sometimes works as a gardener, Otto is caught and kills the owner. Racked with guilt he heads ...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Montgomery Clift, Karl Malden
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Classics, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/07/2004
Original Release Date: 03/22/1953
Theatrical Release Date: 03/22/1953
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French, German, Italian, French
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Pleasing Hitchcock film gets its due on DVD
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 09/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I confess I have a soft spot for Hitchcock's examination of the conflict between the vows of the priest and the vows of justice. Montgomery Clift plays Father Michael Logan. Father Logan has a murderer confess his deed to him. When Logan becomes a suspect, he's unable to divulge what was said. When a detective (a superb Karl Malden) begins investigating the murder, he comes to believe that Father Logan is the suspect he's looking for. Complicating things, is a woman that Logan had an affair with years before and her involvement with the victim.

One of Hitch's most stylish and the most noir looking thriller of his career, "I Confess" is one of Hitch's few films to be shot on location in the latter part of his career. Shot in beautiful Quebec, there's a distinct European flavor to the film due to the city's distinct architecture and cobblestone streets. Clift gives a soulful performance despite the fact that he and Hitch clashed on the set and having a script compromised by Breen's editing of the script for offensive material.

Although the film doesn't quite live up to the standards of "Strangers on a Train" (the film that preceded it) or "Rear Window" (the film after it), it's a very good minor classic in Hitchcock's body of work. The transfer looks unusually sharp for the most part and although there is noticeable grain issues here, it's to be expected given the black and white photography, age of the film and type of film stock used to shoot the film. Wonderful cinematography from Hitchcock's reliable Robert Burks.

The special features include a short documentary (about 20 minutes) on the making of the film featuring Peter Bogdanovich, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell and Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen to those who grew up on "Superman" on TV). There's also a discussion of the performances and the difficulties in shooting the film with Clift. We also get a vintage newsreel that discusses the premiere of the film in Canada and the original theatrical trailer."
Remember when Hollywood believed in God?
Richard A. Libby | Alice, TX | 11/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an excellent movie! Montgomery Clift turns in a superb performance as Father Michael Logan, a priest who hears a confession of a murder. Shortly thereafter, Father Logan himself is suspected and, eventually, accused of the murder. Of course, he knows who committed the murder, but he can't break the seal of the confessional even to save his own life! Anne Baxter plays an old girlfriend who tries to help, but ends up making things worse. Karl Malden is very good as a police detective determined to solve the murder.This is one of the best and most Catholic movies ever! I am a priest, and I encourage all of my brother priests to watch this movie. It is an inspiring look at the kind of priest that God has called us to be. It is also an excellent reminder to all Catholics about the great gift we have in the Sacrament of Reconciliation."
Excellent Hitchcock film!
Brian Reaves | Anniston, AL USA | 03/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I won't go into the plot, since everyone else already has...let me just say that this is an EXCELLENT Hitchcock film! I can't believe I'd never heard of it before, but when I saw it I was blown away. Especially as the priest wrestles more and more with clearing his name at the cost of his priesthood, or keeping silence but being sentenced. The plot twist at the end in the courtroom is great, and shows that this is a true Hitch classic!"
Semper Fidelis
Interplanetary Funksmanship | Vanilla Suburbs, USA | 11/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hitch had made many "wrong man" movies prior to and after this, such as "The 39 Steps," "Saboteur," "North by Northwest," and of course, "The Wrong Man." What separates this from all the rest is that the movie's protagonist, Father Michael Logan, does not embark on a sudden cross-country quest to find the real murderer. In fact, the murderer -- German refugee Otto Keller -- is right under Father Logan's very nose all along, and Logan knows his guilt, because Keller has confessed the murder to Logan forthrightly.

Thus the suspense here results from the crisis of conscience Logan is put through, and few celluloid heroes have been put through the wringer the way Montgomery Clift's has been. His is a crucial moral dilemma: Divulge Keller's confession and get himself off the hook, or stay silent and perhaps be hanged.

Though Hitchcock held Stanislavsky "method" actors in disdain (Clift made shooting difficult, constantly defering to his acting coach on the set), he clearly could spot a great actor when he saw one. Montgomery Clift's portrayal of Logan complex and heartfelt. He invests his character with thoroughly believable intellect and emotion, and gives one of the greatest performances of a man of integrity the screen has ever seen. The viewer can easily empathize with him and the incredible pressure he must be under. Yet, the message is clear: Father Logan is a man of the true faith -- for by keeping true to the sacrament of confession, he keeps his soul intact and demonstrates his unyielding belief in the salvation of even the most tainted of souls, Keller's.

The tension is even further racheted up a notch, because as Keller fears the police closing in, he badgers and taunts Logan, accusing him of cowardice, suspecting him of breaking. The study in contrasts could not be greater. O.E. Hasse (ironically, "hasse" being the German word for "hate") exudes hate as the ratty instigator Keller. He definitely belongs in the patheon of evil Hitchcockian villians, like Norman Bates, Bruno Anthony, Mrs. Danvers and Madame Sebastian.

Anne Baxter, Karl Malden and Brian Aherne round out the cast with great performances. Baxter is conflicted and gorgeous as the married woman still enamored with Logan, who loved her before he assumed his priestly vows; Malden is nimble and self-assured as the detective who finds that the evidence points to Logan; Aherne is smarmy and vicious as the Crown prosecutor who goes after Logan tooth and nail. Dolly Haas, the great German stage actress, is thoroughly believeable as Keller's wife. Throughout the movie, she -- knowing her husband's murder -- acts like a scared rabbit, which is doubly ironic, since "Haas" is Dutch for "hare"!

"I Confess" was shot on location in Quebec City, and does for its vistas what "Vertigo" did for San Francisco. DP Robert Burks, helming his second Hitchcock film, paints the French-Canadian city in shades of shimmering white and charcoal black. His camerawork evokes the Gothic majesty of its cathedrals and Christian iconography, placing Father Logan in a deceptively sympathetic visual context while imprisoning him within the shadows of its dank cobblestones and Keller's skulking presence.

The great and unheralded Russian composer Dimitri Tiomkin -- who scored more Hitchcock soundtracks than any other composer except Bernard Herrmann -- builds an equally dark and evocative score around the Catholic "Dies Irae" chant that summons up both doom and judgment, echoing Liszt's "Totentanz" and Rachmaninoff's "Die Toteninsel."

There are many who consider this one of Hitchcock's minor classics. I could not disagree more: "I Confess" is definitely one of the Master of Suspense's greatest films, an underrated masterwork, akin to Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" or Billy Wilder's "Ace in the Hole." It is solid on so many different levels, and rivals "Vertigo," "North by Northwest," "Notorious," "Psycho" and "The Lady Vanishes" for its visual power and seamless construction."