Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Warner Home Video presents
I Confess (1953)

Robertson: Do you have any idea who put that cassock in your trunk?
Father Logan: I can't say.

- Brian Aherne, Montgomery Clift

Review By: David Krauss   
Published: September 09, 2004

Stars: Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, Brian Aherne
Other Stars: O.E. Hasse, Roger Dann, Dolly Haas, Charles Andre
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence)
Run Time: 01h:34m:28s
Release Date: September 07, 2004
UPC: 085393981426
Genre: mystery

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Alfred Hitchcock never made a film noir per se, but with I Confess he came close. Within the framework of his traditional "wrong man" scenario, Hitchcock employs many core noir elements—deep shadows, stark photography, gritty location shooting, and a brooding sense of fatalism. Strangely lacking, however, is the director's trademark tension and suspense. Somber, serious, and painfully slow-moving, I Confess lacks the energy and intensity of most Hitchcock films, despite a fine cast and fascinating premise.

Montgomery Clift portrays Father Michael Logan, a young Catholic priest in Quebec City, who late one evening encounters caretaker and German refugee Otto Keller (O.E. Hasse) in the pews of his church. Father Logan at once notices Keller's severely troubled state and tries to counsel him. Keller initially resists, but soon begs to bare his soul, and within the private confines of the confessional he admits he killed a man during a failed robbery attempt. Keller later unburdens himself to his repressed yet supportive wife (Dolly Haas), sharing his fears of impending capture, trial, and execution—until it dawns on him that Catholic law forbids Father Logan from betraying his confidence. Knowing the priest must respect the sanctity of confession allows Keller to brazenly continue leading a normal, guiltless life, as long as he believes Father Logan will adhere to his vows.

Complications arise when Inspector Larrue (Karl Malden) interviews witnesses who recall seeing a man in a priest's robe leaving the scene of the crime. Larrue questions Father Logan, who, for personal reasons, refuses to account for his whereabouts around the time of the murder. Now targeted as the chief suspect, Logan faces an impossible dilemma: Either he rejects religious law and exposes Keller or risks conviction for a crime he did not commit. Logan never wavers, bravely resisting the temptation to save himself, but as Larrue tightens the noose, the film poses a potent question: Which laws deserve more respect—those made by man or by God?

I Confess plays more like a straight drama than most Hitchcock films. The director consciously strives for depth and introspection, and seems to relish exploring the film's central moral conflict. Worried we might miss the point, Hitchcock lends his picture an almost threadbare, less-is-more feel, forcing us to focus on ideas instead of technique. He often employs an off-kilter camera to emphasize the skewed morality Father Logan must follow, but generally stays out of the story's way. An undercurrent of tension simmers throughout, but the lethargic pacing prevents it from reaching the full boil we expect and desire. Aside from a climactic chase, the action is confined to terse conversations and a plethora of close-ups showing characters wrestling with their tortured psyches.

Of course, no actor depicts inner turmoil better than Clift, who, along with contemporaries Marlon Brando and James Dean, beautifully balances gut-twisting angst with an almost child-like sensitivity. A most unlikely Hitchcock hero, Clift lacks Cary Grant's polish and James Stewart's regular guy demeanor, but brings to I Confess the quiet intensity required to make the story believable and the priest's moral quagmire wrenching. The role's constraints keep Clift from scaling the heights he achieved in A Place in the Sun and From Here to Eternity, but he mesmerizes nonetheless.

Anne Baxter portrays Father Logan's old flame, Ruth Grandfort, whom he courted before becoming a man of the cloth, and who still carries a torch for the priest. She also holds his alibi, but revealing it to police would compromise her marriage to a local politician and further sully Logan's tarnished reputation. The bleached blonde Baxter gives a sympathetic performance, but her breathy line deliveries reek of Eve Harrington in All About Eve, especially during an extended flashback in which she recounts her affair with Logan. The film's best work, however, comes from Hasse, who masterfully depicts Keller's evolution from a frightened, repentant killer to an ice-cold manipulator willing to do whatever it takes to protect his freedom.

Despite flashes of brilliance, I Confess never bowls us over like we hope it will. Plot contrivances rescue the characters and allow justice to prevail, but by abandoning the play's original downbeat ending, Hitchcock robs his film of power and resonance. Stylistically, Hitch rarely drops the ball, but frequent fumbling prevents I Confess from maximizing its potential. Although we root for its success throughout, this most intriguing Hitchcock film leaves our prayers unanswered.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The excellent full-frame transfer benefits from vibrant contrast and a crisp, clear image that brings out the best in Robert Burks' cinematography. Rich, inky blacks predominate, but lots of gray level variance adds texture and depth to the Quebec streets and numerous close-ups of the principals. Even the lengthy soft-focus flashback remains stable and vivid, with the slightly blurred edges adding a tender timbre to this dark film. A bit of occasional murkiness clouds certain exterior shots, but seems to be an intentional Hitchcock choice. Fans of I Confess will be delighted with this top-notch effort.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Any defects on the DD 1.0 track have been scrubbed clean, leaving us with smooth, bright sound and balanced levels. Even Clift's mumbling and Baxter's whispers are easy to understand, while Dimitri Tiomkin's dramatic score enjoys a nice fullness of tone.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 25 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Newsreel footage of the Canadian premiere
Extras Review: A fascinating documentary, Hitchcock's Confession: A Look at I Confess, delves deep into the film and its production. Director Peter Bogdanovich notes that the French New Wave critics in the 1960s ranked I Confess as one of the all-time great Hitchcock films, while author Bill Krohn talks about Clift's method acting and how it endlessly irritated the more pragmatic Hitchcock. Actor Jack Larson, a close friend of Clift's, offers insights into the star's personality and commitment to his craft, and historian Richard Schickel examines the film's style and dissects character relationships. We also learn about Hitchcock's Jesuit upbringing and how it influenced both his decision to tackle the project and his treatment of it. In addition, the 20-minute documentary includes rare behind-the-scenes color footage (shot on location in Quebec), as well as comments by historian Robert Osborne and Hitchcock's daughter, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell.

The disc also contains the film's original theatrical trailer (in excellent condition) and some brief newsreel footage of the snowy Canadian premiere, which shows Hitchcock and Baxter (who defies the freezing temperatures in an off-the-shoulder evening gown) greeting a throng of admirers outside the theater.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

Despite my admiration for both Hitchcock and Clift, I must confess that I Confess never gripped me like I hoped it would. The film's potent issues may inspire spirited debate, but its plodding pace often dulls any tension. Collectors will appreciate the fine transfer and solid extras, but lovers of traditional Hitchcock may be disappointed.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store