Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive -SUSPICION and I CONFESS on Blu-ray ""

Monday, April 11, 2016

Warner Archive -SUSPICION and I CONFESS on Blu-ray

SUSPICION (1941; Alfred Hitchcock)
This is an interesting film for me mostly because it features one of the rarer Cary Grant as a villain characters. It's an provocative turnabout based on the charismatic lovable scoundrels that he often portrayed. The exact allure that typically draws you in and makes you root for him works in just the opposite way when Hitchcock positions him as he does in SUSPICION. His 'Johnnie' character is a fella we can immediately spot as a ladies man who goes through women like tissues, but the demure Lina (Joan Fontaine) is caught off guard and taken in by his seduction almost right away. Joan Fontaine was really able to pull off this kind of vulnerable romantic desperation in a really effective way in more than this film - I'm thinking specifically of A LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, which is an fitting companion piece to SUSPICION (also REBECCA of course). So it's a sharp Hitch setup with Grant ingratiating himself quickly, but leaving plenty of room for doubts with regards to his motivations. Lina is a part of a rich family so it's kind of easy to see where things might be going. But in true Hitchcock fashion, he makes things often ambiguous and eerie in the way things occur with the Johnnie character. Then of course there is that iconic shot with Grant and the glass of milk on the staircase - a standout moment that is remembered better than the film itself. As far as the Hitch/Grant collaborations go, this one is solid - not NORTH BY NORTHWEST or NOTORIOUS solid, but better than TO CATCH A THIEF. Warner Archive's Blu-ray looks great as well (as per their usual out put). Here's hoping MR. AND MRS. SMITH is in their Blu queue for the near future!
Special Features:
-Making-Of Documentary "Before The Fact: Suspicious Hitchcock"
-Theatrical Trailer

SUSPICION can be purchased from Amazon here:
http://amzn.to/1qz5Rhf

I CONFESS (1953; Alfred Hitchcock)
For years and years I had always heard that I CONFESS was one of Hitchcock's lesser efforts and as such, I never carved out the time to watch it until this Blu-ray. I feel a bit silly for having waited so long. While I cannot deny that it is minor Hitchcock, it is still nonetheless Hitchcock and worth seeing. Now I'm not saying that everything Hitch ever did was golden or in some way without flaw, however watching this movie has taught me I should see more of the few lesser of his that I've yet to see. For all the hours I've spent watching bad or poorly made movies, that I hadn't taken the time to sit down with a less acclaimed one from a master director is rather ridiculous. Anyway, I CONFESS is an interesting entry for both Hitchcock and Montgomery Clift. Clift plays a priest in this film - as you might have heard. He takes confession from a murderer in the first scene and spends the rest of the movie trying to not implicate himself while also not betraying his vows as a priest and telling anyone what he knows from said confession. And things are complicated by blackmail and a married woman as well as other evidence that points a detective (Karl Malden) to Belove the priest is the killer. So on one hand you have a guy who can clear himself if he gives up on his chosen beliefs and just talks to the cops against the fact that he really really seems to believe in that stuff as he's willing to go down for it. I guess hats off though, because that conflict really hangs over everything and makes for this ongoing tension stemming from the question of will the priest let himself be tried and potentially punished for a crime he didn't commit? Other questions and tension are wrung from other characters that could possibly help him not saying anything (or telling the truth and making things worse). The central conceit is a little annoying I must admit, but it definitely kept me on the hook throughout and props to Monty Clift for giving a believably conflicted performance.
Special Features:
-Making-Of Documentary "Hitchcock's Confession: A Look at I CONFESS"
-Premiere Newsreel
-Theatrical Trailer
I CONFESS can be purchased from Amazon here:
http://amzn.to/23j9VUv

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