I Confess Movie Review

Montgomery Clift's staid performance is arguably the best thing about I Confess, a minor work in Hitchcock's canon, and that isn't saying much. Here Clift plays a quiet priest with a dilemma: He's been the recipient of a murderer's confession, and now he himself is suspected of the crime.

Does Clift confess or does he maintain his vow of silence with respect to confessions of his parishioners? This issue has been studied at length in the Law & Orders of the world, and they all end the same: Priest/lawyer/psychiatrist keeps the vow of silence until the very end, when the accused either comes forward and confesses or is convicted by some other means at the very last second.

I Confess isn't much different. Hitchcock wants to analyze where secular law and legislative law collide -- but even he can't take it all the way, ending the film one of the only ways these movies can end (hint: not with the execution of an innocent priest). I do give Hitch credit for a gutsier ending than a sobbing felon bursting into the courtroom to confess, but still it's on the droll side.

Hitch fills time with flashbacks and inquisitions, talky moments that add little to the story aside from a glimpse of a pre-priesthood Clift. But the cold Clift can't even carry off this portion of the film, ostensibly a love story with the lovely Anne Baxter.

Now on DVD, the disc includes a making-of documentary and a newsreel shot at the movie's premiere.

Comments

I Confess Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 1953

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