One of Hitchcock's lesser feted works, or least known to the casual audience, sees Montgomery Clift take the role of Father Michael Logan a priest who hears a confession from a murderer and then is accused of the murder himself. Having no wish to reveal what was said to him, Logan must put his faith in the justice system to come up with the right result.
It's hardly a unique concept in a Hitchcock film, but it is a stirring plot nevertheless. Clift, who isn't given much dialogue, is more than adequate in his role and is ably assissted by a warm supporting cast. Anne Baxter, as Ruth Gradnfort - a former lover of Logan from his "pre-priest" days is less of a success. She's solid enough, but lacks the depth that OE Hasse and Dolly Haas, for instance, bring to their "lesser" roles. How much of this is the fault of the script is open to question and Baxter is not helped by the long and, frankly, tedious flashback that explains her character's history with Logan.
I Confess was a long labour of love for the director, and censorship issues of the time meant that the final scrpit was markedly different from the one which Hitchcock was pushing for. (In Hitchcock's original thesis, Montgomery Clift hangs for the crime and the backstory between Logan and Grandfort is much more logically explained as involving an illegitamate child). In a twist worthy of one of the man's films, Clift was disappointed with the new script when he arrived for filming, having taken the role on the basis of the orginal one, but it was too late for him to back out.
What remains is a strong enough film, and one of Hitchock's most sombre. It's perhaps not what the casual cinema goer would expect from Hitchock but it is most definately worth a look. You can't help feeling though that it might have been even better if Hitchcock would have had the chance to make the story he really wanted to.