True ConfessionsDirector: Ulu Grosbard
Adapted by John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion from Dunne's novel, True Confessions uses the still-unsolved "Black Dahlia" murder as the foundation for a devastating attack on big-city corruption -- in which it appears that many of the perpetrators wear clerical collars. In, 1948 Los Angeles detective Tom Spellacy (Robert Duvall) is assigned to investigate the death of a priest, who apparently suffered a heart attack while being serviced by a prostitute. Meanwhile, Tom's brother, young Catholic monsignor Des Spellacy (Robert De Niro), is reluctantly currying favor with crooked contractor Jack Amsterdam (Charles Durning), the better to finance an expansion of Des' church. The unifying factor between Tom and Des, beyond their sibling relationship, turns out to be the grisly murder of a hooker. The key words in the labyrinthine proceedings are power, ambition, and hypocrisy.
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Cast & Crew
|James D. Brubaker||Producer|
|W. Stewart Campbell||Art Director|
|Georges Delerue||Score Composer|
|John Gregory Dunne||Original Story,Screenwriter|
|Stephen B. Grimes||Production Designer|
|Howard Jensen||Special Effects|
|Tom Mack||Asst. Director|
|Marvin March||Set Decoration/Design|
|Joe Tompkins||Costumes/Costume Designer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I've long been waiting for this movie to be released on dvd. And I recently found from a review on another site that it is offered in BOTH WIDESCREEN as well as pan & scan. I was at first disappointed when I saw the "pan & scan" format and wondered why it was released that way, but it is a double-sided disc, so widescreen lovers can "breathe easy." Anyway, as an avid reader, I both read the book and saw the movie many years ago. Naturally there is much more to the book than can be squeezed into the movie. The screenwriters, however, did a fairly good job. The essence of the story is secret-keeping. Whether it be in the confessional, brother to brother OR brother FROM brother, professional secrets, secret intimacies a man shares only with a woman--they are all in this story. And, yes, it is based upon the famous Black Dahlia case but that is interwoven into a story of two brothers and their differing experiences with the world around them. Unfortunately, their worlds intersect and crash at the murder of this poor young woman. That is when the "True Confessions" begin, bit by bit, to emerge. As to the cracks about women's bodies that another reviewer mentioned, often people who work in high stress professions where they see a lot of tragedy, mayhem, and death, result to "black humor" to get themselves through the stress of the events.
I was pretty disappointed in this film on multiple levels. I'm a fan of Duvall and DeNiro (who isn't?), but I couldn't shake the feeling that their roles should have been reversed -- DeNiro should have been the edgy detective and Duvall the Priest. But the biggest disappointment is the causal use of the ''Black Dahlia'' murder; here disguised as ''The Virgin Tramp'' murder. I¿m getting pretty tired of scenes in which hard-boiled detectives stand over a nude dead woman and make cracks about her body. This was a heinous, brutal crime that's used here only as an excuse to buck up a thin plot. In fact, all the women in this film are treated horribly. The worst offense is the fact that Duvall discovers the murderer yet never reveals it to anyone or even investigates the ''why.'' I guess we¿re not supposed to care because she was a prostitute? And speaking of caring, I¿m not sure why we're supposed to care about these two brothers and ultimately feel so sorry for them. I feel sorry for the dead women who populate this movie for no other reason then to provide titillation between the endlessly dull scenes of patriarchal posturing and male bonding. Skip it.