Full Confession


1h 12m 1939
Full Confession

Brief Synopsis

A priest hears a murderer's confession, then finds himself suspected of the same crime.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Release Date
Sep 8, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

On Christmas Eve, Pat McGinnis breaks into a store to steal a fur coat for his girl friend, Molly Sullivan. Surprised by watchman Michael O'Keefe, McGinnis knocks the man out, steals his gun and, while making a getaway, shoots and kills a policeman. McGinnis then cunningly has himself committed to jail on a minor offense, thus establishing an alibi in case he is implicated in the murder. A year later, Michael is arrested for drunkenness, and when his fingerprints match those found on the gun, he is charged with the policeman's murder and sentenced to die. Meanwhile, Father Loma, O'Keefe's parish priest, befriends McGinnis at the prison camp. He brings Molly to visit and recommends the rehabilitated prisoner for parole. On the day that his request for parole is denied, McGinnis is injured during a quarrel in the prison yard, and thinking that he is dying, confesses the murder to Father Loma, who saves the convict's life with a transfusion of his own blood. Impressed by the priest's loyalty to the convict, the board grants McGinnis his parole, and upon recovering, he leaves prison a free man. As Michael awaits the day of his execution, Father Loma, bound by his oath to keep McGinnis' secret, hounds the ex-convict to confess to the murder. In frustration, McGinnis strikes out at the priest, leaving him near death. Tormented by his guilt, McGinnis finally confesses to the police at the ailing priest's bedside.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Release Date
Sep 8, 1939
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 12m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Full Confession -


Considered a 'B' picture by Variety but produced like an 'A', RKO's Full Confession (1939) is often regarded as a semi-remake of John Ford's The Informer (1935) starring the same leading man, Victor McLaglen. Yet its central conflict also mirrors a later thriller, Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess (1953). On the brink of death in a prison hospital, ex-convict Pat McGinnis (McLaglen) speaks privately to Father Loma (Joseph Calleia), confessing a murder for which the innocent night watchman Michael O'Keefe (Barry Fitzgerald) is awaiting execution. Thanks to a transfusion of the priest's blood, Pat recovers and is given parole. Father Loma wants to save O'Keefe's life but can't break the sanctity of the confessional. As in The Informer, McLaglen's character spends the night wandering between saloons, drowning his guilt with liquor. Underrated director John Farrow's long tracking shots seem a representation of Pat McGinnis' conscience, hounding him as he tries to run away. Unlike Montgomery Cliff's rather passive priest in I Confess, Father Loma takes an active role in extracting McGinnis' confession. Both priests ultimately put their lives on the line to restore the moral balance. Star Victor McLaglen was by this time appearing in lesser program pictures at multiple studios. Character actors Joseph Calleia and Barry Fitzgerald were adept at breathing life into sentimental stories. McGinnis' loyal girlfriend Molly is played by Sally Eilers, who made her name in saucy pre-Code attractions such as in Frank Borzage's Bad Girl (1931) and William Wellman's Central Airport (1933). As the decade ended she was enjoying a last acting fling in a series of supporting roles for RKO. Years earlier Louis B. Mayer had reportedly canceled her MGM contract because he disapproved of her 'salty language'. With both McLaglen and Ms. Eilers on the set, Full Confession may have been a 'salty' shoot.

By Glenn Erickson
Full Confession -

Full Confession -

Considered a 'B' picture by Variety but produced like an 'A', RKO's Full Confession (1939) is often regarded as a semi-remake of John Ford's The Informer (1935) starring the same leading man, Victor McLaglen. Yet its central conflict also mirrors a later thriller, Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess (1953). On the brink of death in a prison hospital, ex-convict Pat McGinnis (McLaglen) speaks privately to Father Loma (Joseph Calleia), confessing a murder for which the innocent night watchman Michael O'Keefe (Barry Fitzgerald) is awaiting execution. Thanks to a transfusion of the priest's blood, Pat recovers and is given parole. Father Loma wants to save O'Keefe's life but can't break the sanctity of the confessional. As in The Informer, McLaglen's character spends the night wandering between saloons, drowning his guilt with liquor. Underrated director John Farrow's long tracking shots seem a representation of Pat McGinnis' conscience, hounding him as he tries to run away. Unlike Montgomery Cliff's rather passive priest in I Confess, Father Loma takes an active role in extracting McGinnis' confession. Both priests ultimately put their lives on the line to restore the moral balance. Star Victor McLaglen was by this time appearing in lesser program pictures at multiple studios. Character actors Joseph Calleia and Barry Fitzgerald were adept at breathing life into sentimental stories. McGinnis' loyal girlfriend Molly is played by Sally Eilers, who made her name in saucy pre-Code attractions such as in Frank Borzage's Bad Girl (1931) and William Wellman's Central Airport (1933). As the decade ended she was enjoying a last acting fling in a series of supporting roles for RKO. Years earlier Louis B. Mayer had reportedly canceled her MGM contract because he disapproved of her 'salty language'. With both McLaglen and Ms. Eilers on the set, Full Confession may have been a 'salty' shoot. By Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, this picture was shot on location at Brent's Crags in the Santa Monica Mountains in California. Contemporary reviews described this film as a poor imitation of RKO's 1935 film The Informer.