I Confess (1953)

i confess poster 1953 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good looking, solid movie

Not the most dynamic Hitchcock film

Movie Info

Movie Name: I Confess

Studio: Warner Bros.

Genre(s): Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  February 12, 1953 (Premiere)/February 28, 1953 (US)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

i confess father logan keller montgomery clift oe hasse

If I stick my fingers in my ears and scream “la-la-la-la-la”, I can’t hear your confession

Father Michael William Logan (Montgomery Clift) is caught in a trap.  The church’s handyman Otto Keller (O.E. Hasse) has confessed the murder of Monsieur Vilette (Ovila Légaré) to him, and he cannot tell anyone due to his vow.  When Inspector Larrue (Karl Malden) begins to suspect that Father Logan is the murderer due to his relationship with married Ruth Grandfort (Anne Baxter), Father Logan must decide between his vow to God or his own freedom.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, I Confess is a religious suspense thriller.  Following Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train in 1951, the movie is an adaptation of the Paul Anthelme’s 1902 play Nos deux consciences (Our Two Consciences).  The movie was met with mixed reviewed.

Hitchcock had weird smaller films mixed in with his bigger and better known films.  Sandwiched between the great Strangers on a Train and Dial M for Murder, I Confess feels like a lesser movie…but even Hitchcock’s lesser films have value.

i confess anne baxter montgomery clift

I’m sorry…I’m not into you.

The movie’s largely a religious movie which feels different from Hitchcock’s normal fare since most people are adhering to some of the basest human nature in his films.  While Otto uses religion to his advantage and is shown to be a horrible person by framing and testifying against Father Logan, Logan genuinely struggles with his faith.  Ultimately faith overpowers self-preservation and that seems very un-Hitchcock…which makes the movie kind of unusual.

Montgomery Clift is the fearful priest who has had impure thoughts about his former love.  Despite this, he never did anything wrong, and it becomes a test of his faith.  In the end the faith wins and he is even able to forgive Otto by administering last rites to him.  O.E. Hasse is perfectly slimy as the killer and comes off even worse than the blackmailer.  Anne Baxter doesn’t really work well with Clift, but in a way it works since she is into Clift and Clift is trying not to be into her.  Karl Malden plays the Karl Malden role…he doesn’t particularly come off as Quebecois (yes, he could be a non-Quebecois).  It feels like in general the setting of Quebec City wasn’t considered into casting.

i confess alfred hitchcock cameo

Hitch welcomes you to Quebec City!

The Quebec City is one of the nicest part of the movie.  Quebec has an old feel and the location feels unique.  The film has a bit more of a noir feel to it at points than some of Hitchcock’s other films and the opening sequence on the dark streets looks fantastic.

I Confess feels like an expanded TV show.  I kind of expect commercial breaks to pop-up with questions like “What will Father Logan do?”  It isn’t bad, but it isn’t the most inspired thriller.  It could also a bit hard for non-Catholics to connect with the story since it feels like Logan could have done more to get Keller to admit his crime.  Hitchcock followed I Confess with Dial M for Murder in 1954.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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