I Confess Reviews
Hitchcock had me yelling at the screen, "Just tell them!" the whole time so yeah...I think he did it right.
We learn about the inner workings of a given moment by the expression of the actor or actress therein. Faces are the language of cinema, and clearly Hitch knew that.
On the level of story, we don't have to do much chasing; we aren't on the edge of our seat much. In that sense, I was a little bit disappointed. However, on a technical level, this is truly brilliant. There's a purposeful drive behind every shot, every cut, every movement.
With all that being said, this isn't one of Hitchcock's best, but it is memorable nonetheless.
I Confess had one of the longest "preproductions" of any Hitchcock film, with almost 12 writers working on the script for Hitchcock over an eight-year period. (Hitchcock had taken time off for the wedding of his daughter Patricia Hitchcock in 1951, and Hitchcock was in the midst of dissolving his partnership in Transatlantic Pictures with Sidney Bernstein.) The original screenplay, following the source play, had the priest and his lover having an illegitimate baby, and the priest being executed at the end of the film. These aspects of the script were removed at the insistence of executives at Warner Brothers because they feared a negative reaction.
Shooting took place in Hollywood and Quebec in under two months. Hitchcock had planned on using Quebec-area churches at no cost. When the local diocese read the original script by George Tabori, it objected to the priest's execution and rescinded its permission. When Tabori refused to change the script, Hitchcock brought in William Archibald to rewrite it.
Hitchcock, as was his custom, created detailed storyboards for each scene. He could not understand Clift's Method acting technique and quickly became frustrated with Clift when he blew take after take for failing to follow Hitchcock's instructions.
Cognizant of the difficulty non-Catholics would have in understanding the priest's reluctance to expose Keller, Hitchcock said,
We Catholics know that a priest cannot disclose the secret of the confessional, but the Protestants, the atheists, and the agnostics all say, 'Ridiculous! No man would remain silent and sacrifice his life for such a thing.'
Alfred Hitchcock's cameo can be seen during the second minute-right after the opening credits-as he walks across the top of a steep stairway
The film was banned in the Irish Republic because it showed a priest having a relationship with a woman (even though, in the film, the relationship takes place before the character becomes a priest).
The film was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.
I Confess was a favorite among French New Wave film makers, according to filmmaker/historian Peter Bogdanovich.
Film critic Sarah Ortiz, has described I Confess as "the most Catholic film of Hitchcock's films."
I Confess was adapted to the radio program Lux Radio Theatre on September 21, 1953 with Cary Grant in Montgomery Clift's role.
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