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I Confess (1953)

Not Rated | | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller | 28 February 1953 (USA)
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A priest who comes under suspicion for murder cannot clear his name without breaking the seal of the confessional.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Otto Keller (as O. E. Hasse)
Roger Dann ...
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Charles Andre ...
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Storyline

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 <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

priest | church | lawyer | murder | quebec | See All (141) »

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

28 February 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's 'I Confess!'  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although William Archibald and George Tabori, who are credited onscreen, were hired to collaborate on the script, Barbara Keon, who is listed onscreen as production associate, worked with Alfred Hitchcock on some of the difficult scenes. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Ruth is watching the postman walk past her house, set during World War II, the cars parked on the street are all 1950s models. See more »

Quotes

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

Featured in Oh, Woe Is Me (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Dies Irae
(uncredited)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Brooding, moody, deceptively simple, and beautiful study of guilt and honor
30 October 2009 | by (United States) – See 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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