Author: Alfred Hitchcock (Warner Brothers)
My Rating: *****
Brother's Rating: *****
Official Rating: PG
Age Group: 14+
Summary: A man is murdered, and someone has to pay. But what about the soul of the man who committed the murder? Fleeing to the confessional, the murderer confesses his deed to a young priest, Fr. Michael Logan. But when things get hot, and the murderer feels he may be found out, he gets nervous. Can Fr. Logan reveal what he heard in the confessional? What if he himself is suspected, and all those he cares for are hurt?
Word of Warning:
- Note this is all in black and white.
- A dead man is seen, stretched across the floor with a bit of blood on his head.
- A man confesses to a murder. He claims the murder was an accident, that he was only intending to steal, and he is told to return the money. It is unclear as to what he does with the money. During the robbery he wears a cassock as a disguise/safety.
- A man briefly mentions that he might be hanged for murder.
- A woman (who is married) is in love with a priest, who is well aware of this. Her husband also knows, and she never lead him to believe she loved him.
- There are at least three kisses, most rather passionate. One is between a married woman and a man who is not her husband (the man returns her kiss and is unaware that she is married), the rest are between a couple who are courting.
- A man makes what is referred to as a "remark" (we are unaware as to the content of it), later referred to as "an insinuation" about a wife and Michael spending the night in a gazebo together (they were escaping a storm; nothing happened). Michael shoves the man for insulting the lady's honor.
- A man blackmails a young wife and, in doing so, a priest as well.
- A wife is so angered by how her words have been taken that she suggests she should have lied to the crime investigators when they questioned her.
- A wife is accused of "a continuous illicit--" but the sentence is never finished. Later, it is clarified simply using the term "affair" in relation to a married woman and a priest.
- A woman is shot by her husband and killed (no blood or gore). A man is shot but we do not see him (we hear he's been shot and see chefs bending down to help him).
- The man who attempted theft (and committed murder) was driven by his sadness at watching his wife work hard for their living.
Because this movie depends entirely on these. And rightly so. Because they're amazing.
- Fr. Logan refuses to reveal anything that relates to the confession he heard. This leads to him being suspected as a murderer, his trial, and the public turning against him (shouting "take off that collar!"). Still, he remains strong and does not speak.
- Fr. Logan is kind to Ruth (the woman in love with him) but gently discourages her feelings toward him, wanting her to move on and see reality. He does his very best to protect her honor, reputation, and keep her from emotional heartbreak.
- Ruth, for her part, is in love with Fr. Logan but knows there is nothing she can do about it and does not try. She stays away from him for years to protect both of them. She never leads her husband to believe she loves him and has apparently told him of her love for Fr. Logan. She does her best to protect him as he is indicated in the murder, revealing information that may hurt her marriage in order to protect Fr. Logan.
- Ruth's husband is utterly amazing. He knows his wife is in love with Fr. Logan, and he hears the entire story of their courtship and the night in the gazebo. Still, he refuses to leave her even after she suggests this is what a husband would do if his wife were in love with another man. He supports her through difficult times, even after her revelation detailing her relationship with Fr. Logan.
- The actor for Fr. Logan is spectacular. At this point, words utterly fail.
- The portrayal of the priests is nearly flawless. As my brother pointed out, often in movies the priest will genuflect the wrong way, or make some other small mistake that would annoy Catholic viewers. No such mistakes were noticed in this movie.
Honestly, if I could give this movie more than five stars, I would, but unfortunately our system only goes up to five.
I've seen this movie many times now, and it never fails to move me. Fr. Logan's bravery and determination to hold to his vows, the husband's support of his wife, and Ruth's attempt to save Fr. Logan by revealing all, they're so touching one is almost moved to trembling. Even the murderer's motivation is moving.
The story itself has an interesting premise. A priest knows of a murder because he's heard the confession of the murderer. He's framed for the murder and can't talk his way out because everything he knows concerning the murder was learned in confession. There are martyrs who died protecting that sacred seal of confession. Here, we see a slightly less tragic, but still incredibly gripping retelling of that same idea.
It's thrilling. Full of mystery, containing a passionate romance, and having all that edge-of-your-seat excitement one desires. To top it off, the hero is a priest.
What more could you possibly want?