I Confess tells the story of a man who is murdered. The murderer confesses to a priest (Montgomery Clift) who is not allowed to tell the police anything that he hears in confession. The evidence soon suggests that the priest is in fact guilty and things look even more bleak when it turns out Clift and a woman (Anne Baxter) are being blackmailed by the murdered man because of the romantic relationship between the priest and woman. While the notion of a priest being romantically linked to anyone may be offensive to some viewers (the film was initially banned in the Republic of Ireland for this very reason) I was not the least bit offended and found the plot to be rather enjoyable. In fact, of the black and white Hitchcock films I've seen, this is easily the most interesting.
The film stars the aforementioned Mongomery Clift (pre-car accident) and Anne Baxter in addition to former Oscar winner Karl Malden. Overall the acting is pretty good especially Clift and his method acting. Not only does Clift do a good job delivering his lines and such, he also comes off as a rather believable priest and supposedly studied a bit on how priests walk, act, etc. to make his portrayal more realistic.
Also worth noting is the picture itself in this film. While I don't normally pay that much attention to these types of things, the lighting, camera angles, and other things unrelated to the plot are done quite well in this film. It is shot on location in Quebec City, Canada which is a pretty neat city from the looks of it. The film has quite a few subtle visual references to religious symbols quite often when the priest is on film. One such example would be while giving testimony at his trial there is a crucifix hanging on the wall.
Overall this film is great and offers everything from romance, courtroom drama, jury deliberations, murder, and everything in between. The film is only about 90 minutes long and I would have liked to see a few things expanded on, but this isn't a major problem. Nothing feels rushed and everything is explained well and Hitchcock never did make long movies.
UP NEXT: More method acting with James Dean in his first role, East of Eden.