Newest Reviews
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
Old Guard, The
Disappearance at Clifton Hill
Sullivans, The
Love in the Afternoon
Black Water: Abyss
Wild Blue Yonder, The
All Hail the Popcorn King
Muriel, or the Time of Return
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
War of the Wizards
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Newest Articles
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
  I Confess Keeping The Vow
Year: 1953
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, Brian Aherne, O.E. Hasse, Roger Dann, Dolly Haas, Charles Andre
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Father Michael Logan (Montgomery Clift) is a priest in Quebec who tonight as he was about to prepare for bed noticed somebody outside entering the church. Concerned, he went downstairs to see what the matter was, only to find Otto Keller (O.E. Hasse), the assistant he had hired out of the kindness of his heart is there, looking deeply troubled as he prayed in one of the pews. Logan asked what the matter was, but the only way Keller would tell was to go to confession, so once they get to the booth the truth emerges: he has just killed a man, mere minutes before. This man was known to Logan and there was no love lost between them yet the tenets of his faith and station require him to keep quiet about what he has heard – on pain of death?

Alfred Hitchcock was brought up a Catholic so the plot of I Confess, based on a play from around fifty years before, meant a lot to him, therefore he was dismayed when the public failed to respond and he wrote it off as a misstep that was not understood by the majority of the potential audience. Not helping was that it was made a more difficult shoot by his star Clift, who was well into his alcoholism and self-destructive behaviour, and Hitchcock was not equipped to deal with someone that damaged, though to his credit he did manage to secure the appropriately soulful performance out of him that benefited the production. That said, Clift's eyes had long before become deep pools of sky blue pain and that contributed as well.

But maybe Hitch was right, there was the feel of an academic exercise about this where the priest cannot break the confession because he has taken an oath, yet then finds himself a suspect in the murder and cannot do anything to exonerate himself lest he break his vows. There comes a point in this where Logan has become so passive that he begins to look less pious and more like a complete idiot, as surely you think there was something he could have done to encourage Keller to confess, or at least set the police on the right track? After a while you're frustrated and willing him on to blab, as one assumes going to the gallows for a crime he didn't commit would be a bigger sin than revealing what he knew.

This was all about the guilt of course, so the film took great pleasure under the guise of serious intent in mentally torturing Logan, even bringing in Christ analogies to make us note the link between one man taking the burden of another man’s crime on his shoulders in order to save his soul – except there didn't seem to be any chance of Keller being let off by the powers of the Almighty, or indeed the powers of Hitchcock. More interesting was the question of what was to be gained by enduring guilt for something you haven't done, a sense of sympathy however misplaced with the criminal, as one sinner's failings were a tragedy for us all to bear, which many would think dragging us into this was a step too far.

Logan gets caught up even further by rather artificial plot contrivances, for the dead man was threatening to expose his love for Anne Baxter as Ruth Grandfort, who for censorship reasons he broke off his relationship with before he became a priest rather than after, which tended to allow the sexual tension to fizzle, not to mention render Logan yet more noble. Not helping was Baxter’s miscasting, she didn’t come across as the type to captivate Logan and she and Clift had no real chemistry, leaving her anguished expressions the sole aspect that would have us convinced she felt anything for him still. Also in the cast on the side of the law were Karl Malden, not bad as the thwarted detective, and better was Brian Aherne as the prosecutor who added a spark of levity to what was a very dour experience, though he did appear to have wandered in from a different film with that demeanour. As an exploration of faith, I Confess was interesting on the surface, but failed to convince when it got down to the big issues it was wrestling with, and as a thriller it was dry. Music by Dimitri Tiomkin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1703 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Alfred Hitchcock  (1899 - 1980)

Hugely influential British director, renowned as "The Master of Suspense" for his way with thrillers. His first recognisably Hitchcockian film was The Lodger, but it was only until Blackmail (the first British sound film) that he found his calling. His other 1930s films included a few classics: Number Seventeen, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, Secret Agent, Sabotage, The Lady Vanishes, Young and Innocent and Jamaica Inn.

Producer David O. Selznick gave Hitchcock his break in Hollywood directing Rebecca, and he never looked back. In the forties were Suspicion, thinly veiled propaganda Foreign Correspondent, the single set Lifeboat, Saboteur, Notorious, Spellbound (with the Salvador Dali dream sequence), Shadow of a Doubt (his personal favourite) and technician's nightmare Rope.

In the fifties were darkly amusing Strangers on a Train, I Confess, Dial M for Murder (in 3-D), rare comedy The Trouble with Harry, Rear Window, a remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much, To Catch a Thief, the uncharacteristic in style The Wrong Man, the sickly Vertigo, and his quintessential chase movie, North By Northwest. He also had a successful television series around this time, which he introduced, making his distinctive face and voice as recognisable as his name.

The sixties started strongly with groundbreaking horror Psycho, and The Birds was just as successful, but then Hitchcock went into decline with uninspired thrillers like Marnie, Torn Curtain and Topaz. The seventies saw a return to form with Frenzy, but his last film Family Plot was disappointing. Still, a great career, and his mixture of romance, black comedy, thrills and elaborate set pieces will always entertain. Watch out for his cameo appearances in most of his films.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser


Last Updated: