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The Cardinal
The Cardinal
Actors: Tom Tryon, John Huston, Romy Schneider, Carol Lynley, Dorothy Gish
Directors: Otto Preminger, Valerie A. Robins
Genres: Drama, Military & War
NR     2003     2hr 55min

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 09/20/2005 Rating: Nr


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Movie Details

Actors: Tom Tryon, John Huston, Romy Schneider, Carol Lynley, Dorothy Gish
Directors: Otto Preminger, Valerie A. Robins
Creators: Hope Bryce Preminger, Martin C. Schute, Henry Morton Robinson, Ring Lardner Jr., Robert Dozier, Thomas J. Wiener
Genres: Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Classics, Religion, Family Life, Military & War
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/25/2003
Original Release Date: 12/12/1963
Theatrical Release Date: 12/12/1963
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 55min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Edition: Special Edition
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

Otto Preminger was most underrated...
R. Gawlitta | Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA | 04/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Before I comment on the film itself, I must say that I believe film historians have given Preminger a bad rap. His films, even the sweeping epics, were quite personal, and would draw the audience into his own personal world. Preminger's reputation, largely, was due to his desire to confront social issues that often made the audience uncomfortable. Who can possibly forget "The Man with the Golden Arm" (drug-addiction), "Anatomy of a Murder" (rape), and his most cotroversial, "The Moon is Blue" (virginity), a 1954 film condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency. These were "in your face" depictions of the stuff that is now regarded as "run of the mill". His handlings of Black culture have been immortalized on film in his two musicals, "Carmen Jones" and "Porgy and Bess". Arriving in the states during World War II, a misplaced German facing prejudice, he was well acquainted with alienation and filmed these Black-centered films with great affection. "Exodus" (1960) concerned the plight of the Jews, and "The Cardinal" dealt with the plight of a good Catholic and the many problems facing him (racism, abortion, celibacy, etc.). Preminger was not afraid to tackle a problem facing society, and his films are generally excellent in conveying his desire to expose situations to the world that are ever-present. Preminger's first Oscar nomination was in 1944 ("Laura"), though he stepped in for Rouben Mamoulian after filming had begun. It's the films he made in the 50's, during the McCarthy blacklist period, that made him passionate to move an apathetic public to serious situations. "The Cardinal" is one of his best, in many ways. Not only does it cover a long period of time, but it is coherent and often compelling. It was nominated for 6 Oscars (Director, Supprting Actor, Editing, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costumes). I still think John Huston's performance was overdone, but he was a beloved director and this was his first acting role. If any acting awards shoud've been given, it should've been to Burgess Meredith. This was also Romy Schneider's first English-language role. She was a lovely woman and a confident actress. The editing, sets and photography were indeed fine (the 2.35:1 LBX on the DVD show all the glory), but I still believe that Jerome Moross' score is among the finest, though not nominated. Remember, this was up against "Cleopatra" for those technical awards so, though noble and fine, it could hardly compete against "That" budget. It was not nominated for "Best Picture", nor screenplay...I thought the train of events was handled in a literate fashion, from a very long book. I saw this when it came out in 1963, and was quite absorbed by it's message; Preminger's films did that to me (I was 11 when I saw "Exodus" and was speechless afterward. Go figure.) The DVD is very well done, and I'm happy to have it in my collection. Tom Tryon carried the lead role with one facial expression, and, though very good looking, his career didn't last long. He became a best-selling author and I'm sure he's happier. The rest of the acting was OK, but it was really great to see Dorothy Gish as his mother. A class act. Also, Maggie McNamara hadn't had a decent role since "The Moon is Blue", so it was swell of Otto to give her a shot here; very good, too, as the bitter sister. This is not a great film, but Preminger's sure and courageous hand keep this film moving and never boring (at 3 hours). There was also so much anti-Catholic behavior going on within the church that I'm surprised the church didn't try to squash this whole project.Preminger has never failed to impress me. The man and his vision and talent are not to be taken lightly. Not to mention his desire to "tell it like it is"."
A complex, entertaining film that leaves you thinking
Stephen J. Teller | Pittsburg, KS USA | 01/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"To be sure, Otto Preminger was inconsistent (compare this with "EXODUS") but he was always interesting. THE CARDINAL is no exception. Covering 20 or so years in the life of Father Stephen Fermoyle (Tom Tryon), the film deals with issues like abortion, racism, religious conversion, degradation, and more. Fermoyle makes some wrong choices(allowing his sister to die; abruptly quitting his leave of absence), and yet you can't hate the guy; he did what he thought was right at the time, though he may regret it. The acting is excellent through and through, and the lack of really big names removes the possible artifice of a star performance. Tryon, Carol Lynley (Fermoyle's doomed sister), John Huston (the intimidating Cardinal Glennon), and Raf Vallone (Fermoyle's friend Bishop Alfeo Quarenghi) stand out, but there are no weak links. Preminger directs with a sure hand, aided by the striking visuals and Jerome Moross's beautiful music. The DVD is the roadshow 70mm 179 minute version with intermission. The bonus DVD contains an interesting documentary, a nondescript 1963 featurette, and a trailer.Jamie Teller"
Underrated Classic
S. Doyle | Dublin 6, Ireland Ireland | 11/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD is a brilliant transfer from the original negative and the film itself deserves its place in any top 100 but being a total religious epic it wouldn,t be considered by some,shame though,because its a fantastic drama,full of emotion and along side "Exodus" is Otto Premingers finest work. The novel was considered impossible to film at the time,but despite some alterations the film still grips. Leave your religious views aside for 3 hours and enjoy a masterpiece"
Nix Pix | Windsor, Ontario, Canada | 03/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"An intercontinental journey spanning nearly 25 years, "The Cardinal" is a masterfully told saga. Otto Preminger directs with his usual adroit perception of the human condition as he tempts the faith of a Catholic cardinal (Tom Tryon) from Rome to Boston and Vienna. Along the way the film tackles such grandiose social issues as abortion, racism, celibacy and Fascism. Co-star John Huston was Oscar-nominated for his role as the fiery archbishop. Catholic priest, Steven Fermoyle (Tryon) returns to his home from taking his vows to discover that his sister, Mona (Carol Lynley) is in love with a Jewish man who is unwilling to give up his faith and that his brother, Frank (Bill Hayes) has abandoned the priesthood. Mona?s obsession to marry leads her to a life of wanton debauchery that results in her death. In the meantime, Cardinal Glennon (John Huston) is determined to drive all of Steven?s false pride from his soul. To this end he sends the young novice to work in a forgotten, frozen parish presided over by the Rev. Ned Halley (Burgess Meredith). When Halley dies, Steven is recalled to Rome where he meets a black southern priest, Father Gillis (Ossie Davis) who has come to ask for aid in fighting racism in his parish. The Vatican denies Gillis? request but Steven does indeed quietly take a leave to administer aid to Gillis? parish. He is attacked and brutally beaten by a sect of good ol? boys and nearly dies. The plot, from this point forward is rather rushed, unworthy of Preminger?s usually sterling attention to pace. One gets the sense that Preminger would have liked another two or three hours to unfold the remainder of his tale which includes having Stephen return to Rome, then travel to Austria to regain is moral center. There he falls in love with Anna Marie VonHartmann (Romy Schneider) who does not know he is a priest. But Steven returns to his love of God, leaving Anna to marry a resistance operator during WWII in Nazi Germany who, unfortunately is discovered and jumps out a third story window to his death. From there Steven barely escapes Nazi persecution to once again return home to his family. Warner delivers another wonderful transfer. Though the colors have dated somewhat, this 1963 classic sparkles in a nicely balanced transfer. Over all, colors are vibrant. Blacks are deep. Contrast and shadow levels are fully realized. There appears to be little in the way of age related artifacts. Digital anomalies are equally absent. The audio is 5.1 and captures the essence of early stereo recording.
Extras include the masterful feature length documentary on Otto Preminger, a featurette of the same vintage as the film and a theatrical trailer. "The Cardinal" is an unusual religious epic; legitimate and introspective, bold and magnificent. It is a film of great emotional power and quiet, graceful elegance."