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I Confess (1953)

Trailer
2:49 | Trailer
A priest, who comes under suspicion for murder, cannot clear his name without breaking the seal of the confessional.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

George Tabori (screen play), William Archibald (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Montgomery Clift ... Father Michael Logan
Anne Baxter ... Ruth Grandfort
Karl Malden ... Inspector Larrue
Brian Aherne ... Willy Robertson
O.E. Hasse ... Otto Keller (as O. E. Hasse)
Roger Dann Roger Dann ... Pierre Grandfort
Dolly Haas ... Alma Keller
Charles Andre Charles Andre ... Father Millars
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Storyline

Otto Keller and his wife Alma work as caretaker and housekeeper at a Catholic church in Québec City, Québec. While robbing a house where he sometimes works as a gardener, Otto is caught and kills the owner. Racked with guilt, he heads back to the church where Father Michael Logan is working late. Otto confesses his crime, but when the police begin to suspect Father Logan, he cannot reveal what he has been told in the confession. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

FILMED IN CANADA'S COLORFUL QUEBEC BY WARNER BROS. (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

18 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English | French | Italian | German

Release Date:

28 February 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ik beken See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,000,000, 31 December 1953
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted Olivia de Havilland to play Ruth Grandfort, but the role became minimized, so a star of her stature was not required. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Father Logan walks up to the crime scene, there is a woman in the background laughing and hamming it up for the camera. Everyone else in the shot is very solemn. See more »

Quotes

Fr. Michael William Logan: I never thought of the priesthood as offering a hiding place.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Dies Irae
(uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Brooding, moody, deceptively simple, and beautiful study of guilt and honor
30 October 2009 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

I Confess (1953)

This is one of Hitchcock's darkest films, and one of the best for seamless believability--it lacks some of the breaks from verisimilitude that bigger hits like Psycho and Vertigo famously use. It also has the incomparable Montgomery Clift, who took intensity to new heights as the first in a series of great method actors in the 1950s. He really wasn't a Hitchcock kind of actor (the director liked the artifice and changeability of a Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart much more), but he makes the film what it is, and Hitchcock surely knew it, and made the most of it. When the camera (in the hand of Robert Burks) sweeps up to a full screen view of Clift's face and you see those glowing, brooding eyes, you fall under their collective spell. Yeah, it's great stuff.

The plot is pretty simple and amazing--a priest (Clift) learns something in a confession that come to haunt him in unexpected and very threatening ways. Hitchcock manages to push the envelope a little, as usual, in this case by having an illicit-seeming sexual affair be one of the keys to the plot. This implication naturally complicates the priest's life, but during the main plot of the movie and in a cheery flashback for backstory. Anne Baxter, the principled, strong woman (also not a Hitchcock forte) is terrific throughout, terrific the way Ingrid Bergman was in Notorious. Unlike most of Hitchcock's output, there is essentially no comic relief here, and the light and camera-work are equally dark--and truly gorgeous.

The French New Wave directors really admired this particular film of Hitchcock's, and you can see why. But it is also just a great, fast, distressing American melodrama set in France. It's not sensational, but it is spectacular, one of my favorites among many by this odd, brilliant auteur.


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