Thursday, September 20, 2018

I Confess (1953)


Beefing on Hitchcock
I Confess

The thirty-eighth film by Alfred Hitchcock was a long time in the making, a full eight years spent on the script alone. 1953's I Confess was, in my opinion, a work of art and heart. Commonly stated as his "most Catholic" picture, the movie takes from Htichcock's own personal faith and incorporates many aspects of the church, religion, and priesthood.

The story follows a young priest who receives the confession of a man who has just killed someone. He himself ends up being implicated and eventually brought to trial for the murder, as he can not break the confidentiality of a confession, even if it means proving his own innocence. This brings twist to Hitchcock's common "wrong man" theme, common to viewers nowadays, yet not broadly familiar at the time.

Starring Montgomery Clift as Father Logan, Anne Baxter as a lover from his life before the priesthood, and Karl Malden as Inspector Larrue, the film is full of suspense and angst, and manages to keep you on the edge of your seat whilst taking its time with the plot. Clift's method acting style draws you in to the fraught emotional state of the priest, even though it apparently clashed with Hitchcock's own style of directing behind the scenes. For what it was worth, the two conflicting styles merged together on screen beautifully to create a simple, yet intriguing picture.

In the end, I highly recommend this movie to anyone who has yet to see it, and personally consider it top-tier Hitchcock, even though it never seems to fall in with his most popular and well-known films. That's a shame.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Thunderball (1965)


Beefing on Bond
Thunderball

1965's Thunderball was originally slated to be the first in the long line of James Bond motion pictures, but due to a major legal dispute, it came fourth. I feel I can say that it served the picture well to have been pushed back. Dr. No had such a small budget and scale, I believe that alone would have harmed the success of the film and perhaps even the franchise.

Coming off of Goldfinger however, Thunderball is far less extravagant in comparison. The story is a simple one -- evil organization steals atomic bombs to hold the world ransom for money -- and at times it feels almost too simple for the scope and length of the movie. There is a lot of bouncing Bond around from person to person, villain to friend to foe to lover back to villain, with some overly extended underwater scenes thrown in whenever possible. At times, it seems almost forced in how drawn out some scenes are, as if they had a desired length and had to reach it, hell or high water. (Water pun intended.)

The only other downfall of Thunderball is that Sean Connery looks and feels a bit weary and worn out, not exactly as quirky and charming as before. This might have been intentional, and it might have just been due to the filming schedule. I opt not to fault him (or the film) for that; it's an easy thing to look past.

In all, Thunderball is a fantastic addition to the franchise, definitely falling into its place in the order. It didn't try to overdo and surpass the extravagance of Goldfinger, yet it still holds its own against it. While the pacing could benefit from some tighter editing, it's an incredibly strong and enjoyable movie with very few actual faults.