I Confess

Screening on Film
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
With Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden.
US, 1953, 35mm, black & white, 95 min.
Print source: Warner Bros.

The motif of Catholic guilt which many have read as an overriding theme of Hitchcock's oeuvre takes literal form in this lesser known thriller about a priest trapped by his vow of silence and a dark secret from his past life. A young Montgomery Clift quivers with Method angst as the frightened priest forced to challenge his own convictions and duties by an ethical and existential double-bind of the kind so important to the logical absurdity at the heart of Hitchcock's cinema. Shot largely on location in Quebec, I Confess renders the city's chilly baroque grandeur dynamically cinematic, transformed into a menacing labyrinth of dark alleys and accusatory street arrows seen in the film's ingenious opening sequence.

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