Kehr Capsule of the Week: I Confess (1953)

Alfred Hitchcock’s earliest serious critics, the Catholic-minded Cahiersgroup, revered this 1953 film above all his 50s work; today it’s very seldom revived. Montgomery Clift plays a stone-faced priest (Hitchcock’s only direction to him seems to have been “don’t twitch”) who hears a confession of murder and assumes the killer’s guilt. The movie is more interesting than achieved: it’s the most forthright statement of the transference theme in Hitchcock’s work, but it’s also the least nuanced. Still, there are shots of extraordinary beauty, emerging from the grayish Quebec background like flashes into color. With Anne Baxter, Brian Aherne, and Karl Malden. 95 min.

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