Beefing on Hitchcock
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.