The Cardinal

  • 1963
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, Religious

THE CARDINAL is one of Otto Preminger's best films--but that may not mean much when we consider that SKIDDOO!, ROSEBUD, HURRY SUNDOWN, and THE HUMAN FACTOR are included in his relatively small number of productions. This vast, sprawling epic takes Tryon (who went on to become a successful novelist) from Monsignor to Cardinal, through so many trials and...read more

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THE CARDINAL is one of Otto Preminger's best films--but that may not mean much when we consider that SKIDDOO!, ROSEBUD, HURRY SUNDOWN, and THE HUMAN FACTOR are included in his relatively small number of productions. This vast, sprawling epic takes Tryon (who went on to become a successful

novelist) from Monsignor to Cardinal, through so many trials and tests of his spiritual conviction that it's difficult to envision all of this happening to any servant of God but Job. Tryon must survive racists in Georgia, Nazis and a romantic attachment in Austria, and a sister (not the

ecclesiastical variety, thank heaven!) who sleeps with her Jewish fiance and refuses to be penitent about it--followed by her loss of faith, her conceiving out of wedlock, and an agonizing death in childbirth because Tryon's convictions will not permit him to intervene. The number of sequences in

the movie seems endless, as the locale zooms across continents with alacrity. The film is far better than the disastrous MONSIGNOR of Chris Reeve but not nearly so good as several other films about the inner workings of the church. Robert Dozier (producer William Dozier's son) does a creditable

job of compressing voluminous material into manageable length. Working with Preminger is never easy, however (ask anyone who has done it), and Dozier seems to have difficulty editing his own work--so THE CARDINAL commits a cardinal sin: it bores. With an hour cut out of it, this might have been a

landmark picture. The acting is all first quality, even that of Tryon and Lynley, neither of whom was famed for thespian ability. Kudos are due the acting, the music, and Leon Shamroy's photography. None, however, for Preminger's direction. Oscar nominations were given for Best Cinematography,

Best Supporting Actor (John Huston), Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, and Best Costume Design.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: THE CARDINAL is one of Otto Preminger's best films--but that may not mean much when we consider that SKIDDOO!, ROSEBUD, HURRY SUNDOWN, and THE HUMAN FACTOR are included in his relatively small number of productions. This vast, sprawling epic takes Tryon (w… (more)

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