The Cardinal

The Cardinal

Available on iTunes
Critics have called this poignant church drama perhaps Otto Preminger's finest film. It's the story of a Boston Irish-American priest whose inner spiritual journey is tested by the grandeur and politics of the Church. Tom Tryon turns in a magnificent performance as the humble cleric who is transformed into a prince of the Vatican, and John Huston is outstanding in his portrayal of the craggy Boston priest who is his mentor. The opening scene shows Tryon ascending the seemingly endless stairway of the Vatican, a lasting cinematic metaphor for the struggles he must endure before donning the miter and robes of a Cardinal, on the long march to Rome. The story provides a wide canvas for the indulgence of Otto Preminger, whose proven skill with grand scenes is magnificently displayed. From humble blue-collar origins, amid anguish and personal doubts of devotion to church over family to graphic and brutal involvement with racism and the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia to the tyranny of Nazi invaders in Vienna, our young priest must reconcile his life. An extraordinary supporting cast provides skillful delineation of the moral and ethical dilemmas Tryon faces on the long march to the Vatican. Outstanding among these is the performance of John Huston as the craggy old Boston priest who in a few brief scenes authentically displays 'toughness, authority, political acumen, compassion and a fine philosophical turn of mind.' Deft handling of a mammoth undertaking by Preminger.
Starring Tom Tryon, Romy Schneider, Carol Lynley
Director Otto Preminger