I Confess (1953)
This is a brand new arena for me. Though I'm a writer by trade, I've never ventured into the blogging world. When I saw Carly's post about the Montgomery Clift Blogathon to celebrate the new documentary on his life, Making Montgomery Clift, I hopped out of my comfort zone to partake in a wonderful tribute to my favorite actor of all time. This is my first of hopefully many posts on classic films to come.
Turner Classic Movies was the soundtrack of my childhood. I grew up thinking of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney as personal friends with how often the Andy Hardy series of films were played in my house. The first Montgomery Clift film I saw was on TCM. It was Suddenly, Last Summer (hence the blog name) and I was sold. Something about Montgomery Clift pulled me in. I began making my way through his filmography and was captivated. There was one film in particular that stood out to me.
I Confess was released in 1953. It stars Monty and was directed by the incomparable Alfred Hitchock. For some reason, it seems to fall in between the cracks for both the actor and the director. Before Psycho and The Birds, Hitchcock allowed himself to work with a method actor (the best one out there, I'd say) and created an underrated gem. Hitch was no fan of method actors, but I think he was pleased with the outcome of working with Monty.
In the film, Clift plays a Catholic priest who is told during confession about a murder. The congregant of his church had accidentally murdered a town lawyer. Father Logan (Clift's character) becomes a primary suspect when the detective (played by Karl Malden) makes connections between the victim and the priest (like his relationship with the widower, played by the wonderful Anne Baxter). Plus, eyewitness accounts pointed to a man in priest garb. Since he learned the identity of the real killer in confession, Father Logan was put in a difficult situation. He had to keep the mans secret.
I won't give away too much of the storyline in case you haven't seen the film before. What I will say, however, is how wonderful it is. The sincerity behind Clift's portrayal of Father Logan is astounding. This gives a whole new take on the classic Hitchcock thriller. When the lead actor plays their part with so much emotion, you are drawn even closer to that character. The twists and turns leave you on the edge of your seat because you become attached to them, hoping for the best outcome. This is especially felt given this is a Hitchcock film. He is the Master of Suspense, after all.
This film was a perfect fit for Clift. He seems as though he was made to portray a priest carrying such a heavy burden. No other actor of the era could have delivered a more believable performance. The guilt and anxiety of his situation seeps into the audience. Every time I watch this film, I begin to take on the emotions. It's a heavy one, but the remarkable acting and directing make it one I come back to time and time again. I've lost track of how many times I've watched I Confess. Add it to your next movie night whether you've seen it a million times like me or are watching it for the first time.
I hope my first attempt at jotting down my thoughts on my favorite actor and one of my most beloved films wasn't too horrible! Follow along with the incredible blogathon at The Hollywood Scrapbook. Be sure to check out Making Montgomery Clift. You can watch the film on iTunes by clicking here.
Also, today would have been Montgomery Clift's 99th birthday! Celebrate the legendary actor with a screening of I Confess or Making Montgomery Clift.