Alfred Hitchcock's 'I Confess!'

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Drama/Thriller, USA, 1953, 95 min., black and white

AKAs Alfred Hitchcock's 'I Confess!'

Tagline Crushed lips don't talk...

Synopsis In Quebec, in the sanctuary of his church late one night, Father Michael Logan finds Otto Keller, the German refugee who is employed as the rectory handyman. After asking Logan to hear his confession, the distressed Keller proceeds to tell how he killed a lawyer, Vilette, while trying to rob him. Later, Keller tells his wife Alma, who also works at the rectory, that Logan is barred from reporting the crime by the seal of the confessional. The next day, Keller proceeds to the Vilette mansion, where he is employed one day a week as gardener, and after returning the stolen money, alerts the police of Vilette's murder. The troubled Logan also appears at Vilete's, saying that he has an appointment, and is seen whispering to a woman on the street. Later, Inspector Larreau, who is in charge of the investigation, interviews two schoolgirls, who saw a priest leaving Vilette's house between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m. Suspicious of Logan, Larreau asks him to come to the station. Meanwhile, the anxious Keller hides the bloody cassock he wore on the night of the murder in Logan's room. At the station, Larreau questions Logan about his appointment with Vilette and the woman with whom he was seen, but Logan refuses to answer or provide an alibi for the night of the murder. Feeling certain that Logan is the killer, Larreau calls the Crown prosecutor, Willie Robertson, who is socializing with a member of Parliament, Pierre Grandfort and his wife Ruth, unaware that she was the woman outside Vilette's. The next day, Ruth secretly meets Logan on a ferry and tells him to admit to the police that they were together on the night of the murder, but Logan refuses, as he wants to protect her. However, Murphy, one of Larreau's men, sees them together and reports their meeting to Larreau. Reluctantly, Robertson asks Ruth to visit the station. There, with Larreau, Robertson, Pierre and Logan present, Ruth says she is being blackmailed and that she met with Logan on the night of the murder between nine and eleven o'clock to ask his advice. Although both Pierre and Logan try to protect her, Larreau presses for details. Believing the truth will prove Logan's innocence, Ruth tells a story that explains how she and Logan, who had been childhood sweethearts, were also in love as young adults: When war breaks out, Logan, always serious and noble, volunteers for military service and after a while, Ruth no longer hears from him. She eventually marries Pierre, but after the war, meets again with Logan. Without telling him she is married, she spends a day on an island talking to him. When a storm suddenly hits, they miss the last ferry out and take cover in a nearby summer house, where they spend a chaste night together. The next morning, Vilette, the owner of the house, spots them and recognizes Ruth. Afterward, she sees neither Logan nor Vilette. Five years later, Vilette shows up at Logan's ordination and continues to appear to Ruth in unlikely places. Later, Vilette threatens to blackmail her. Fearing scandal for both Pierre and Logan, Ruth meets with Logan to get his advice without telling Pierre. She and Logan plan to meet in front of Vilette's house the following morning, unaware that Vilette has been murdered. Back in the present, Robertson sends Logan and the Grandforts home, as Ruth has provided an alibi for Logan. However, Larreau tells Robertson that the autopsy report has placed Vilette's time of death after 11:30 p.m., which would have given Logan time to kill Vilette after meeting with Ruth, and that Ruth's testimony has suggested a motive for the killing. The next day, Keller taunts Logan about his vows, which require silence, but after seeing the dark look in Logan's eyes, he loads and pockets a gun. When Murphy arrives to see Logan, Keller embroiders a story about how Logan left in distress, which suggests that Logan is evading the police, but then Logan later shows up voluntarily in Larreau's office and is arrested. Meanwhile, the bloody cassock is found in a trunk during a search of Logan's room. Later, at the trial, as Alma watches, Keller testifies that Logan was in great distress on the night of the murder. Then Ruth's story is twisted by the prosecuting Robertson to insinuate an ongoing affair with Logan. In his testimony, Logan still does not reveal what he knows, nor does he implicate Keller when the cassock is shown as evidence. Although the jury acquits Logan for insufficient evidence, both judge and jury publicly express their suspicions. Logan is then free to go, but the disapproving mob almost crushes him. Seeing this, Alma tries to tell a policeman that Logan is innocent, but the panicked Keller kills her. Larreau, Logan and several policemen follow Keller to the Chateau Frontenac, and corner him in the ballroom. Believing that Logan has finally revealed the truth, Keller accuses him of hypocrisy by breaking his vow and thus, incriminates himself. When Logan moves closer to talk, Keller starts to shoot, but the police shoot Keller. As he dies, Keller asks for forgiveness, and Logan absolves him.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock  

Starring Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, Brian Aherne, Roger Dann, more...

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