Now Playing: TRUE CONFESSIONS
I don't watch crappy movies all the time. Occasionally I like to delve into something more, uh, conventional. Mature? Hmmmm. Well, at any rate, I caught a letterboxed print of TRUE CONFESSIONS on cable. Based on John Gregory Dunne's novel, TRUE CONFESSIONS (which is not yet on DVD) stars Robert DeNiro and Robert Duvall as estranged brothers who become involved in the horrible murder of a so-called "party girl" during the 1940s. Duvall is a slightly crooked cop who investigates the murder, in which the victim was cut in two and dumped in an L.A. vacant lot (loosely based on the notorious Black Dahlia case). DeNiro is a monsignor whose ambition to move up in the Catholic hierarchy has led him to do favors for wealthy congregation members, such as Jack Amsterdam (Charles Durning), a former hood who now runs a successful construction business...successful because of the jobs building Catholic schools that DeNiro keeps throwing his way.
Even though the story is centered around a brutal murder, the movie isn't really about it, and if you're looking for an absorbing mystery, TRUE CONFESSIONS isn't the movie. It is, however, a great showcase for two of America's finest actors, at least at that time. Both DeNiro and Duvall have a tendency to either overact or sleepwalk through projects that don't interest them, but not in this case. They are marvelous in TRUE CONFESSIONS, particularly in a poignant final scene in which the brothers finally become closer than they have ever been. In addition to Durning, Ed Flanders, Burgess Meredith and Kenneth McMillan are quite good, and an actress named Rose Gregorio, of whom I know next to nothing, is superb as a middle-aged whore with whom Duvall has a history.
TRUE CONFESSIONS isn't a forgotten classic or anything like that. It's slow-moving and nowhere near as interested in its crime plot as I think it should be, but it's of some interest, especially if you're a fan of superlative screen acting.
And then I watched an episode of F TROOP that guest-starred Don Rickles as a rampaging Indian out to scalp the Fort Courage gang and got all that "quality" out of my system.