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 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This may not be one of Hitchcock's greatest movies, but it's still a great film, since it was made by the master, who somehow managed to survive beautifully in Hollywood for many years. It contains many of his favorite things: lamps, the backs of people's heads, bedposts, ladies pacing in front of mantelpieces, obvious symbolism, architecture, performing arts halls, etc. More somber in tone than most Hitchcock thrillers, it should not be missed by any Hitchcock fan.
Nor by any Montgomery Clift fan. At one point Clift is juxtaposed against a statue of Christ dragging his cross, taunted by soldiers. This could be the impishly sadistic Hitchcock poking fun at the "plugged-up" persona that Clift was developing for himself, but Clift is nevertheless excellent as the brooding, sensitive priest trapped by his own devotional vows. And of course he's physically beautiful: the hair, the eyes, the eyebrows.
Less effective, although she has her moments, is Anne Baxter who was a replacement for a European actress. It's too bad, because it's hard to buy Baxter as the luscious Hitchcock blonde. Her hairdo is awful (well, it was 1953, so it's not entirely her fault)and she does that line reading that she does in every movie, including "All About Eve," where each line fades to a whisper, or starts as a whisper and stays that way. Once you become aware of it, you can't not notice it! She does, however, have at least one great Orry-Kelly dress and the way she snaps "Yes" at her husband was worth a rollback for a second viewing.
The new DVD is excellent. It has a little documentary which is enjoyable, if you can stand Peter Bogdanovich doing his Hitchcock impersonation. Hitchcock's daughter is also in the documentary. It's amazing how she seems to not really understand what her father was up to sub-textually, but she continues to enjoy his success.
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