I Confess - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

I Confess Reviews

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February 24, 2018
A man murders his employer and then confesses the murder to Catholic priest Montgomery Clift. Clift and old girlfriend Anne Baxter have a connection to the murdered man and end up being implicated by cop Karl Malden. Clift cannot defend himself against the charges without breaking the seal of confession. The best word to describe this Hitchcock film is "adequate". The cast all do a good job, but there's no suspense or mystery in this plot. It does engage with the moral quandary of having to break your word to defend yourself, but it doesn't engage with it very actively.
½ October 21, 2017
I Confess is a winner, but it is a quiet, understated mystery drama rather than the high-tension thriller of Hitchcock's greatest work. It has the structure of a whodunit, but the movie is really about some big adult themes: the sanctity of vows; friendship; loyalty; religious versus secular allegiance. It is a beautifully shot film, with good performances from Anne Baxter and OE Hasse, and great ones from Karl Malden and Montgomery Clift.
October 10, 2017
Another fine film by Hitchcock. Here a priest knows the identity of a man who murdered someone they mutually know via a confession and refuses to turn him in even as he goes to trial for the crime.
May 18, 2017
I Confess, like some Hitchcock movies, has a concept that is more intriguing than its execution. The casting is good with talented heartthrob Montgomery Clift delivering a fine performance as a priest who becomes a key witness in a murder by association- that is to say that he cannot break the holy code of confidentiality in the confession box. The story doesn't seem as compelling and thrilling as it should be and although it is certainly a solid film, Hitch had some magic to come when he made a more decisive switch to technicolour with Dial M For Murder.
April 2, 2017
Monty Clift as a priest sounds like the start of a great sex dream but as it turns out this legal drama is actually quite thrilling in other ways too!

Hitchcock had me yelling at the screen, "Just tell them!" the whole time so yeah...I think he did it right.
½ March 15, 2017
Hitchcock valued highly the emotive capability of the human face. He never did a simple shot-reverse-shot when he filmed dialogue. Takes were always long, reactions were vital to his structure, and everything is intentional.

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.
½ September 4, 2016
Through the eyes of a Hitchcock fan, I CONFESS appears to be his most personal film. Viewing it through a philosophical filter, it's about how to conquer sin in the face of God and ultimate redemption.
July 10, 2016
I enjoyed this film. First of all, loved that it was set in Canada, and partially shot here. It's also a good story. I decided to watch it immediately following "The Wrong Man" and it covers the same themes. I loved the cinematography in this film, having ti shot on location really helped. The score is also excellent. Last but not least is the performance by Montgomery Clift whom I thought was excellent. For me, this had a slightly different feel from a lot of the other Hitchcock films, but is still excellent. Check it out.
½ April 19, 2016
In my opinion, this is Hitchcock at the height of his craft. Most of the critics above don't know what they're talking about. I even saw one refer to it as documentary like...If that's the case, I had no idea the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was a documentary. Next to Shadow of a Doubt, it contains some of the most honest emotional moments in the director's canon, beautifully visualized and perfectly edited.
February 20, 2016
There is a lie almost all fictional mystery films and stories tell us, that motive is important to building a case. In the real world the police try to not use motive at all, it is easy to think of reasons for a person to commit a crime, reasons do not constitute evidence and any real reason could be as likely as any invented one. I Confess is not the first film, nor even the first Hitchcock film, to continue this lie, but in it is one of the most egregious abuses of this myth of the motive (juries may think of their own motives, prosecutors point to them as accusations, but good detectives do not reply on them and judges do not allow them as evidence). The film has some other problems; the second act is rather dull, missing the suspense of the first and third, and the source of intrigue is convoluted. However, the saving grace is Montgomery Clift as a tortured soul afflicted with impossible moral quandaries. He plays a introverted man who struggles to express himself and is unsure when he should speak up, but who often hopelessly expresses his emotions on his face. As an introvert myself it's rare to find the hero of a story portrayed as such a positive type of introvert, usually films present us as untrustworthy for hiding our thoughts, and even if charitable they would rarely be cast as a handsome, heroic man as Clift.
½ January 24, 2016
It's more of a drama than a thriller but it has a pretty interesting story. Montgomery Clift is amazing as always (and he looks good in a cassock!)
May 20, 2015
not one of my favourite Hitchcock films and kinda lessor effort from him.
January 20, 2015
Anne Baxter , Karl Malden y Montgomery Cliff dirigidos por Hitckcock !!
January 15, 2015
WOW......WOW.....WOW.....WOW....WOW.....WOW...STUNNING.....FANTASTIC.....GENIUS.....AMAZING.....FANTASTIC.....ABSOLUTLEY BRILLIANT.....MAN I HAVE JUST SEEN THIS MOVIE 4 THE 1ST TIME N THINK THAT THIS IS SUCH A BRILLIANT MOVIE 2 WATCH......its got a good cast of actors/actresses throughout this movie.....I think that Montgomery clift (.R.I.P.), anne baxter (.R.I.P.), karl malden (.R.I.P.), brian aherne (.R.I.P.), dolly haas (.R.I.P.), play good roles/parts throughout this movie.....I think that the director of this drama/classics movie had done a fantastic job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie.....


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


Critical response

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.

man this is such a brilliant movie 2 watch, I think that this is such a beautifully directed movie 2 watch, its got a fantastic cast throughout this movie....man this is such a thrilling breath taking movie 2 watch, it is such a brilliant movie 2 watch, its got a great cast throughout this movie....it is such a classics movie 2 watch, it is such a brilliant movie 2 watch, it is such a fantastic movie 2 watch, with a great cast throughout this movie......
½ September 3, 2014
A gardener murders his employer, then returns to the Church where he has been given a home, confesses to the Priest who must keep all confessions secret, and then the police are then led down a path that leaves the Priest looking like the most likely suspect. The Priest must be proven innocent without breaking his bond of confession, and yet the prick who did the confessing doesn't hesitate to go on the stand and implicate the hell out of the Priest. It is a solid thriller from Hitchcock, not one of his best films, but a solid film from his catalog.
½ June 27, 2014
A great Catholic movie for Lent.
April 16, 2014
Alfred hitchcock's I confess was considered by french director Jean luc godard the best and most influential of his films and by godard's circle of friend directors as well to be the most infltuential of his films. I confess might not be one of hitchcock's well know films but popularity is not match for artistry,brilliance and vision. Montgomery clift's more sincere and touching performance.
March 29, 2014
Exceedingly well acted, particularly by Clift, but it is a bit heavy handed
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