Otto Preminger was an Austrian-American film director, producer, and actor who had a prolific career in Hollywood from the 1930s to the 1970s.

He was known for his bold and controversial films that tackled taboo subjects and challenged social norms. Some of his best films have become classics of American cinema.

In this series, we will look at some of the best Otto Preminger films and explore what makes them great.

From film noir to courtroom dramas and musicals, Preminger’s diverse filmography offers a wide range of cinematic experiences.

Best Otto Preminger Movies

Whether you’re a fan of classic Hollywood cinema or a newcomer to the director’s work, this article will provide insight into the career of one of the most important filmmakers of the 20th century.

1. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

“Anatomy of a Murder” is a 1959 courtroom drama directed by Otto Preminger, based on the novel of the same name by Robert Traver.

The film stars James Stewart as Paul Biegler, a small-town lawyer who takes on the defense of an army lieutenant, Frederick Manion (played by Ben Gazzara), who is accused of murdering a local bar owner.

The case is complicated by Manion’s claim that the bar owner raped his wife (played by Lee Remick).

The film’s plot is suspenseful and engaging, with intricate twists and turns that keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

The acting is superb, with standout performances from Stewart, Gazzara, and Remick, as well as George C. Scott as the ruthless prosecutor.

“Anatomy of a Murder” was groundbreaking in its frank depiction of sexual assault and the use of profanity in a mainstream Hollywood film.

The film also received critical acclaim for its nuanced portrayal of the legal system and its exploration of the morality of the characters involved.

Overall, “Anatomy of a Murder” is a masterful example of the courtroom drama genre, featuring a gripping plot, exceptional performances, and thought-provoking themes that make it a must-see for fans of classic Hollywood cinema.

Anatomy of a Murder [DVD]
  • Anatomy of a Murder - DVD Brand New
  • James Stewart, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Otto Preminger (Producer)
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

   

2. Laura (1944)

“Laura” is a 1944 film noir directed by Otto Preminger and starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, and Clifton Webb.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Vera Caspary and follows the story of a detective who becomes obsessed with a beautiful and enigmatic woman.

The film begins with the murder of Laura Hunt, a beautiful advertising executive played by Gene Tierney.

Detective Mark McPherson, played by Dana Andrews, is assigned to investigate the case and becomes obsessed with the victim, whom he has never met.

As he delves deeper into the case, he begins to uncover a web of deception and betrayal involving Laura’s mentor and lover, the arrogant and eccentric columnist Waldo Lydecker, played by Clifton Webb.

As the investigation unfolds, Mark becomes increasingly fascinated by Laura, and he begins to imagine what her life was like before she was murdered.

He becomes so obsessed that he even starts to dream about her, and he becomes convinced that he knows who the killer is.

However, as the film reaches its climax, the truth is revealed, and Mark’s perceptions are turned upside down.

“Laura” is known for its stunning cinematography, its atmospheric score by David Raksin, and its intricate and twisty plot.

The film is also notable for its exploration of themes of obsession, identity, and the nature of perception, as well as for its nuanced and complex characters, particularly the enigmatic Laura herself.

Laura
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Vera Caspary (Writer) - Otto Preminger (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

3. Advise & Consent (1962)

“Advise & Consent” is a 1962 political drama film directed by Otto Preminger, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Allen Drury.

The film explores the political process of confirming a controversial nominee for Secretary of State and the power struggles that ensue.

Here are a few reasons to watch “Advise & Consent”:

   

Compelling Political Drama: “Advise & Consent” is a thought-provoking and intense political drama that offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of government.

The film is a detailed portrayal of the political process of confirming a presidential nominee, and it delves into the complexities and moral ambiguities that surround politics.

Stellar Cast: “Advise & Consent” features an exceptional cast of actors, including Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton, and Walter Pidgeon.

Each actor delivers a nuanced and powerful performance, adding depth and complexity to their respective characters.

Overall, “Advise & Consent” is a well-crafted political drama that offers a thoughtful exploration of the inner workings of government and the complex moral choices that politicians must make.

It is a must-watch for fans of political dramas and those interested in the political process.

Advise & Consent (1962) ( Advise and Consent )
  • Advise & Consent (1962) ( Advise and Consent )
  • Advise & Consent (1962)
  • Advise and Consent
  • Henry Fonda, Lew Ayres, Burgess Meredith (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Advise & Consent (1962) ( Advise and Consent ) (Producer)

4. Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)

“Where the Sidewalk Ends” is a classic film noir from 1950, directed by Otto Preminger and starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney.

The film tells the story of a tough detective named Mark Dixon (played by Andrews), who accidentally kills a murder suspect during an investigation.

   

To cover up his crime, Dixon attempts to frame a local cab driver for the murder.

However, as he investigates further, he begins to fall in love with the cab driver’s daughter, played by Tierney, and struggles with his guilt over the murder.

The film is known for its tense, atmospheric direction and for the strong performances from its lead actors.

It also features a gripping screenplay that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. “Where the Sidewalk Ends” is widely considered to be one of the best film noirs of the 1950s and a must-see for fans of the genre.

Where the Sidewalk Ends (Fox Film Noir)
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Ben Hecht (Writer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

5. The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)

“The Man with the Golden Arm” is a 1955 film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, and Kim Novak.

The film is considered one of Preminger’s best and is notable for its frank and unflinching portrayal of drug addiction. Here are some key characteristics of the film:

Social commentary: “The Man with the Golden Arm” is a social commentary on the issue of drug addiction in America.

The film was one of the first to tackle this subject matter head-on, and it had a significant impact on the way addiction was portrayed in popular culture.

Realistic portrayal of addiction: The film is also notable for its realistic portrayal of addiction. The main character, Frankie Machine (played by Frank Sinatra), is a former heroin addict who struggles to stay clean after leaving prison.

The film shows the physical and emotional toll that addiction takes on its victims and does not shy away from the harsh realities of the disease.

Overall, “The Man with the Golden Arm” is a powerful and groundbreaking film that tackled taboo subject matter in a way that was both honest and artistic.

The film remains a classic of American cinema and a testament to the talents of its director and cast.

Sale
The Man with the Golden Arm
  • Sinatra, Frank (Actor)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

6. In Harm’s Way (1965)

“In Harm’s Way” is a 1965 war drama directed by Otto Preminger, based on the novel of the same name by James Bassett.

The film stars John Wayne as a tough naval officer, Captain Rockwell Torrey, who is tasked with leading a dangerous mission during World War II.

Kirk Douglas plays his second-in-command, Commander Paul Eddington, and Patricia Neal plays a nurse who becomes romantically involved with Torrey.

The film’s plot is complex and multifaceted, as the characters grapple with issues of duty, honor, and personal relationships in the midst of war.

The action scenes are expertly staged and realistic, while the quieter moments are filled with emotional depth and tension.

The ensemble cast is outstanding, with memorable performances from Wayne, Douglas, and Neal, as well as supporting actors including Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, and Burgess Meredith.

“In Harm’s Way” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, praised for its epic scope and expertly crafted storytelling.

The film has since become a classic of the war movie genre, and is often cited as one of the best films of both Preminger’s and Wayne’s careers.

In Harm's Way
  • In Harms Way - DVD Brand New
  • John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - James Bassett (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

7. Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965)

Bunny Lake Is Missing” is a 1965 British psychological thriller directed by Otto Preminger and starring Carol Lynley, Laurence Olivier, and Keir Dullea.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Evelyn Piper and follows the story of a young American woman who reports that her daughter has gone missing in London, but as the investigation progresses, it becomes clear that not everything is as it seems.

The film opens with Ann Lake, played by Carol Lynley, arriving in London with her young daughter Bunny, whom she plans to enroll in a local nursery school.

However, when Ann returns to the school to pick up Bunny at the end of the day, she finds that Bunny has disappeared and that no one at the school seems to remember seeing her.

“Bunny Lake Is Missing” is known for its tense and suspenseful plot, as well as for its exploration of themes of identity, perception, and the unreliability of memory.

The film is also notable for its atmospheric cinematography, particularly in its portrayal of the dark and sinister streets of London, and for its skilled direction and strong performances from its cast.

Sale
Bunny Lake is Missing
  • Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward, Carol Lynley (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Otto Preminger (Producer)
  • English, French (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

8. Angel Face (1952)

“Angel Face” is a 1952 film noir directed by Otto Preminger, starring Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons.

The film tells the story of Diane Tremayne (Simmons), a beautiful and manipulative young woman who becomes involved with Frank Jessup (Mitchum), a private investigator hired to work for her wealthy family.

As their relationship deepens, Diane’s true intentions are revealed, and Frank finds himself in danger.

Here are a few reasons to watch “Angel Face”:

Jean Simmons’ Performance: Jean Simmons gives a standout performance as the cunning and manipulative Diane Tremayne.

Her performance is both seductive and chilling, and she is able to portray the character’s complex psychology with subtlety and nuance.

Psychological Drama: In addition to its noir elements, “Angel Face” is also a psychological drama that explores the psychology of its characters.

The film delves into the motivations and inner workings of Diane Tremayne, as well as the psychological effects of her actions on the other characters.

Overall, “Angel Face” is a well-crafted film that offers a compelling mix of film noir and psychological drama.

Its strong performances and twisted plot make it a must-watch for fans of classic cinema and film noir.

Angel Face [DVD]
  • Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons, Mona Freeman (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Ben Hecht (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

9. Porgy and Bess (1959)

“Porgy and Bess” is a musical film directed by Otto Preminger and released in 1959. The film is based on the 1935 opera of the same name by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, and Ira Gershwin.

The story is set in the early 1900s in the black neighborhood of Catfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina. It follows the romance between Porgy, a disabled beggar, and Bess, a woman with a troubled past who is being pursued by her violent and possessive ex-lover, Crown.

As their love develops, Porgy and Bess face a variety of challenges and obstacles, including disapproving members of their community and the threat of Crown’s return.

The film stars Sidney Poitier as Porgy, Dorothy Dandridge as Bess, and Sammy Davis Jr. as Sportin’ Life. The cast also includes Pearl Bailey, Brock Peters, and Diahann Carroll.

The film was notable for featuring an all-black cast, which was still relatively rare in Hollywood at the time.

Despite receiving mixed reviews upon its initial release, “Porgy and Bess” has since been regarded as an important cultural artifact and an important milestone in the representation of black performers in Hollywood.

The film’s soundtrack, which includes such classic songs as “Summertime” and “I Loves You, Porgy,” has become a beloved part of the American songbook.

Sale
The Gershwins: Porgy & Bess
  • Willard White, Cynthia Haymon, Gregg Baker (Actors)
  • Trevor Nunn (Director) - Dorothy Heyward (Writer)
  • German, French, Italian (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

10. Fallen Angel (1945)

“Fallen Angel” is a 1945 film noir directed by Otto Preminger and starring Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, and Alice Faye. Here are some key characteristics of the film:

Film noir style: “Fallen Angel” is a classic example of film noir, with its use of shadowy lighting, cynical characters, and a story that explores the dark side of human nature.

The film’s moody atmosphere and intricate plot are hallmarks of the genre.

Complex characters: The film’s characters are multi-dimensional and morally ambiguous, with their motives and desires often shrouded in mystery.

Dana Andrews plays a drifter with a troubled past, while Linda Darnell plays a femme fatale who may not be all she seems. These characters, and their relationships with each other, provide the film with much of its dramatic tension.

Themes of deception and betrayal: The film explores themes of deception and betrayal, with the characters manipulating and betraying each other in order to get what they want.

These themes are central to the film’s plot and give it a sense of moral complexity.

Overall, “Fallen Angel” is a compelling and atmospheric film noir that showcases Preminger’s mastery of the genre. Its complex characters, intricate plot, and dark themes make it a standout film from the era.

Fallen Angel (Fox Film Noir)
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, Alice Faye (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Harry Kleiner (Writer) - Otto Preminger (Producer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

11. Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

“Bonjour Tristesse” is a 1958 drama film directed by Otto Preminger, based on the novel of the same name by Françoise Sagan.

The film tells the story of a young girl named Cécile (Jean Seberg) who lives a life of leisure with her playboy father (David Niven) on the French Riviera.

When her father becomes engaged to a serious-minded woman (Deborah Kerr), Cécile becomes determined to sabotage their relationship.

Here are a few reasons to watch “Bonjour Tristesse”:

Jean Seberg’s Performance: Jean Seberg gives a memorable performance as Cécile, a young woman who is struggling to come to terms with her father’s impending marriage.

Seberg brings a youthful energy and vulnerability to the role, making Cécile a sympathetic and relatable character.

Exploration of Youth and Rebellion: “Bonjour Tristesse” is a poignant exploration of youth, rebellion, and the difficulties of coming of age.

The film’s themes are universal and still resonate with audiences today, making it a timeless work.

Overall, “Bonjour Tristesse” is a well-crafted film that offers a thoughtful exploration of youth, rebellion, and the complexities of relationships.

Its strong performances and stunning cinematography make it a must-watch for fans of classic cinema and those interested in exploring the themes of youth and coming of age.

Bonjour Tristesse ( 1958 ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, Blu-Ray, Reg.B Import - France ]
  • Bonjour Tristesse ( 1958 )
  • Bonjour Tristesse ( 1958 )
  • Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Walter Chiari (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Bonjour Tristesse ( 1958 ) (Producer)
  • French (Subtitle)

12. The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955)

“The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell” is a 1955 American drama film directed by Otto Preminger.

The film is based on the real-life court-martial of US Air Force General Billy Mitchell, who was a pioneering military aviation advocate in the early 20th century.

The film stars Gary Cooper as Billy Mitchell, who was court-martialed after he publicly criticized the military establishment for failing to recognize the potential of air power and its importance in modern warfare.

The film follows Mitchell’s court-martial proceedings and his efforts to prove that the military’s top brass were guilty of gross negligence and incompetence in their handling of air power.

“The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell” was critically acclaimed for its strong performances and its portrayal of the complex relationship between the military and the government.

The film was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Cooper), and Best Screenplay.

The film is notable for its historical accuracy and for its depiction of a courageous and controversial figure who championed the use of air power in warfare.

Billy Mitchell’s advocacy ultimately led to the formation of the United States Air Force as a separate branch of the military.

Sale
The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Gary Cooper, Rod Steiger, Ralph Bellamy (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Milton Sperling (Writer)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

13. Carmen Jones (1954)

“Carmen Jones” is a 1954 American musical film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte.

The film is based on the 1943 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn is an adaptation of Georges Bizet’s opera “Carmen”.

The film tells the story of a passionate love affair between a soldier named Joe and a beautiful and fiery factory worker named Carmen.

In the film, Carmen, played by Dorothy Dandridge, is a sultry and seductive factory worker who sets her sights on Joe, played by Harry Belafonte. Despite the fact that Joe is engaged to a fellow soldier, he becomes infatuated with Carmen and begins a passionate love affair with her.

However, their relationship is threatened by Carmen’s volatile and unpredictable nature, as well as by the arrival of another suitor, a boxer named Husky Miller.

“Carmen Jones” is known for its groundbreaking casting of African American actors in leading roles, as well as for its innovative use of Bizet’s music in a contemporary context.

The film is also notable for its stylish and expressive direction by Otto Preminger, as well as for the electrifying performances of its leads, particularly Dorothy Dandridge, who received an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Carmen.

Sale
Carmen Jones [DVD]
  • Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, Pearl Bailey (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Harry Kleiner (Writer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

14. Whirlpool (1950)

“Whirlpool” is a 1950 film noir directed by Otto Preminger and starring Gene Tierney, Richard Conte, and José Ferrer.

The film follows the story of a wealthy and troubled woman named Ann Sutton (Tierney), who seeks the help of a hypnotist named David Korvo (Ferrer) to cure her shoplifting habit.

However, Ann finds herself being blackmailed by Korvo, who is actually a manipulative and dangerous criminal.

As Ann’s life spirals out of control, she turns to her devoted husband, a District Attorney named William Sutton (Conte), for help. However, William soon finds himself caught up in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with Korvo, as he tries to uncover the truth about the hypnotist’s sinister plans.

“Whirlpool” is known for its suspenseful plot, its stunning visuals, and its excellent performances from the lead actors.

It is considered a classic example of film noir, with its dark and moody atmosphere and its complex characters. The film was well-received by critics upon its release and has since become a cult classic.

Sale
Whirlpool
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Gene Tierney, Richard Conte, Jos Ferrer (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Andrew Solt (Writer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

15. Daisy Kenyon (1947)

“Daisy Kenyon” is a 1947 romantic drama film directed by Otto Preminger, starring Joan Crawford, Dana Andrews, and Henry Fonda.

The film tells the story of a successful New York career woman named Daisy Kenyon (Crawford), who finds herself torn between two men: her longtime lover Dan O’Mara (Fonda), a married war veteran, and the charming but emotionally unstable Peter Lapham (Andrews).

Here are a few reasons to watch “Daisy Kenyon”:

Strong Performances: “Daisy Kenyon” features strong performances from its lead actors, with Joan Crawford delivering a nuanced and complex portrayal of the film’s conflicted heroine.

Henry Fonda is also excellent as the married man torn between his love for Daisy and his commitment to his family, while Dana Andrews brings charm and emotional depth to his role as the unstable artist.

Cinematography and Score: The film’s cinematography, by renowned cinematographer Leon Shamroy, is visually striking, with its use of shadow and light to create a sense of mood and atmosphere.

Overall, “Daisy Kenyon” is a well-crafted film that offers a thoughtful exploration of complex relationships and the difficulties of navigating romantic love

. Its strong performances and impressive technical elements make it a must-watch for fans of classic cinema and those interested in exploring the themes of love and relationships.

Sale
Daisy Kenyon (Fox Film Noir)
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Joan Crawford, Dana Andrews, Henry Fonda (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - David Hertz (Writer)
  • English, Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

16. A Royal Scandal (1945)

“A Royal Scandal” is a 1945 American comedy-drama film directed by Otto Preminger and Ernst Lubitsch.

The film is a fictionalized account of the love affair between Catherine the Great, the Empress of Russia, and Grigory Potemkin, a military commander and statesman.

The film stars Tallulah Bankhead as Catherine the Great and Charles Coburn as Grigory Potemkin.

The story takes place in the 18th century and follows Catherine’s rise to power, her relationships with her advisors and lovers, and her eventual affair with Potemkin. The film also explores the political intrigue and machinations of the Russian court.

“A Royal Scandal” received mixed reviews upon its release but has since gained a reputation as a witty and sophisticated comedy-drama with strong performances by its lead actors.

The film is notable for its lush production design and costumes, which were nominated for Academy Awards.

The film also features an early performance by Vincent Price as the villainous Count Alexei Orloff, and a young Anne Baxter in a supporting role.

“A Royal Scandal” is an entertaining and humorous look at the love life of one of history’s most powerful women, and the political and personal scandals that surrounded her reign.

A Royal Scandal
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Coburn, Anne Baxter (Actors)
  • Ernst Lubitsch (Director) - Lajos Biro (Writer) - Ernst Lubitsch (Producer)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

17. Exodus (1960)

“Exodus” is a 1960 American epic film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, and Sal Mineo. The film is based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Leon Uris, which tells the story of the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

In the film, Paul Newman plays Ari Ben Canaan, a Jewish underground leader who is working to help European Jews immigrate to Palestine and establish a Jewish homeland.

Eva Marie Saint plays Kitty Fremont, an American nurse who becomes involved in Ari’s cause, while Sal Mineo plays Dov Landau, a survivor of the Holocaust who joins the underground movement.

“Exodus” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it is widely regarded as one of the classic films of the epic genre.

The film is known for its sweeping cinematography, its stirring score by Ernest Gold, and its powerful performances by its cast, particularly Paul Newman.

It is also notable for its depiction of a historical event that was still very much in living memory at the time of its release, and for its exploration of complex and controversial themes related to national identity, ethnic conflict, and the politics of liberation.

Exodus
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - Leon Uris (Writer) - Otto Preminger (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

18. The Moon Is Blue (1953)

“The Moon Is Blue” is a 1953 romantic comedy film directed by Otto Preminger, starring William Holden, David Niven, and Maggie McNamara.

The film tells the story of a young woman named Patty O’Neill (McNamara) who meets two men on the observation deck of the Empire State Building and finds herself torn between them.

Here are a few reasons to watch “The Moon Is Blue”:

Groundbreaking for Its Time: “The Moon Is Blue” was considered groundbreaking for its time, as it was one of the first Hollywood films to use the word “virgin” in its dialogue, and to depict sexual relationships in a frank and open manner.

The film caused controversy when it was released, but its success helped pave the way for more open depictions of sexuality in American cinema.

Overall, “The Moon Is Blue” is a well-crafted romantic comedy that is notable for its groundbreaking themes and smart dialogue.

Its strong performances and engaging characters make it an enjoyable watch for fans of classic Hollywood cinema and romantic comedies.

The Moon Is Blue
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • David Niven, William Holden, Maggie McNamara (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

19. The Cardinal (1963)

“The Cardinal” is a 1963 American drama film directed by Otto Preminger. The film is based on the 1950 novel of the same name by Henry Morton Robinson, which chronicles the life and career of a Catholic priest in the United States.

The film stars Tom Tryon as Stephen Fermoyle, a young priest who rises through the ranks of the Catholic Church in the United States, from his early days as a seminarian to his eventual appointment as a cardinal.

The film explores Fermoyle’s personal and spiritual struggles, as well as the historical events of the time, including World War II, the civil rights movement, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“The Cardinal” was praised for its ambitious scope and powerful performances, particularly by Tryon, who was relatively unknown at the time.

The film was also notable for its frank treatment of controversial topics, including the Holocaust, abortion, and the role of the Catholic Church in American society.

The film received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture, and won one award for Best Sound. “The Cardinal” is a sweeping and thought-provoking drama that explores the role of faith and morality in a rapidly changing world.

The Cardinal (1963)
  • The Cardinal (1963)
  • The Cardinal (1963)
  • John Saxon, John Huston, Romy Schneider (Actors)
  • Otto Preminger (Director) - The Cardinal (1963) (Producer)
  • Italian (Subtitle)

20. The Fan (1949)

“The Fan” is a 1949 American film noir directed by Otto Preminger and starring Jeanne Crain, Madeleine Carroll, and George Sanders.

The film is based on the 1892 play “The Fan” by Oscar Wilde and tells the story of a beautiful and ambitious actress who becomes obsessed with a successful playwright, and will stop at nothing to get him to write a part for her in his next play.

In the film, Jeanne Crain plays Sally Ross, a rising star in the world of theater who is determined to land a role in a new play by her favorite playwright, Richard Stanley, played by George Sanders.

Madeleine Carroll plays Lady Edith, a wealthy and sophisticated woman who is also vying for Stanley’s attention.

As the two women become locked in a fierce competition for Stanley’s affections, Sally’s obsession with him spirals out of control, leading to a series of dangerous and unpredictable events.

“The Fan” is known for its stylish and atmospheric direction by Otto Preminger, as well as for its sharp and incisive script, which explores themes of love, jealousy, and the destructive power of obsession.

The film is also notable for its strong performances, particularly by Jeanne Crain, who gives a nuanced and complex portrayal of a woman consumed by her desire for fame and success.

Overall, “The Fan” is a gripping and compelling film that offers a stark and unsentimental portrayal of the dark side of the entertainment industry.

21. Kidnapped (1938)

“Kidnapped” is a 1938 adventure film directed by Alfred L. Werker, based on the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The film tells the story of a young Scottish heir named David Balfour (played by Freddie Bartholomew), who is kidnapped and sold into slavery by his greedy uncle (played by Reginald Owen).

David eventually escapes and joins forces with the outlaw Alan Breck (played by Wallace Beery) to reclaim his inheritance and seek revenge against his uncle.

Here are a few reasons to watch “Kidnapped”:

Classic Adventure Story: “Kidnapped” is a classic adventure story that is beloved by generations of readers, and the film adaptation captures the spirit and excitement of the source material.

The film is filled with thrilling action, suspenseful moments, and memorable characters, making it a fun and engaging watch for fans of adventure stories.

Overall, “Kidnapped” is a classic adventure film that captures the spirit and excitement of Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved novel.

Its strong performances, thrilling action, and stunning Scottish scenery make it a must-watch for fans of classic adventure stories and fans of classic Hollywood cinema.

Kidnapped
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Warner Baxter, Freddie Bartholomew, Arleen Whelan (Actors)
  • Richard Sale (Director) - Robert Louis Stevenson (Writer) - Kenneth Macgowan (Producer)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

22. River of No Return (1954)

“River of No Return” is a 1954 American Western film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe.

The film is set in the 19th century and follows a widowed farmer (Mitchum) and his son as they embark on a dangerous journey down a treacherous river to deliver a cargo of supplies to a mining town.

Along the way, they encounter a singer and dancer (Monroe) who has been abandoned by her gambler husband, and the group must work together to survive in the rugged and unforgiving wilderness.

The film features stunning location cinematography shot on location in the Canadian Rockies, and a memorable musical score by composer Lionel Newman.

“River of No Return” was praised for its high production values and strong performances, particularly by Monroe in one of her early dramatic roles.

The film is notable for its pioneering use of CinemaScope technology, which allowed for a widescreen image that enhanced the film’s epic feel.

“River of No Return” was a commercial success upon its release, and has since become a classic of the Western genre, with its thrilling action sequences, memorable characters, and beautiful scenery.

River of No Return (1954)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)

23. Forever Amber (1947)

“Forever Amber” is a 1947 American historical drama film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Linda Darnell, Cornel Wilde, and Richard Greene.

The film is based on the 1944 novel of the same name by Kathleen Winsor, which tells the story of an ambitious and beautiful woman named Amber St. Clair who rises from poverty to become one of the most powerful and influential figures in 17th-century England.

As the story unfolds, Amber must navigate a treacherous political and social landscape, as well as the dangers of her own ambition and desire.

The film depicts the opulence and extravagance of the 17th-century court, as well as the poverty and squalor of the city’s lower classes.

It also explores themes of power, love, and betrayal, as well as the complexities of gender and class in a patriarchal society.

“Forever Amber” was a controversial film at the time of its release, due to its frank depictions of sexuality and its portrayal of a strong and independent female character.

The film was also criticized for its historical inaccuracies and its excessive length, which led to significant cuts being made before its release.

Despite these criticisms, “Forever Amber” was a commercial success, and it remains a noteworthy example of the lavish and extravagant historical epics that were popular in Hollywood during the 1940s and 1950s.

24. The 13th Letter (1951)

“The 13th Letter” is a 1951 film noir directed by Otto Preminger, based on the play “Le Corbeau” by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac.

The film tells the story of a small town that is thrown into chaos when a series of anonymous letters, signed “The Raven,” accuse various members of the community of immoral behavior.

Here are a few reasons to watch “The 13th Letter”:

Suspenseful Story: “The 13th Letter” is a tense and suspenseful thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end.

The film’s central mystery, the identity of “The Raven,” is the driving force behind the film’s plot, and the various twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIHURkwnhrw

Stylish Direction: Otto Preminger’s direction is stylish and effective, capturing the sense of paranoia and fear that grips the small town as the accusations from “The Raven” mount.

The film’s shadowy cinematography and moody score also add to its sense of atmosphere and tension.

Overall, “The 13th Letter” is a tense and suspenseful thriller that is notable for its strong performances, stylish direction, and gripping plot.

If you’re a fan of classic film noir or suspenseful thrillers, “The 13th Letter” is definitely worth checking out.

25. Under Your Spell (1936)

“Under Your Spell” is a 1936 American romantic comedy film directed by Otto Preminger.

The film stars Lawrence Tibbett as a famous opera singer named Anthony Allen who falls in love with a young woman named Cynthia Drexel (played by Wendy Barrie) who is suffering from a serious illness.

The film follows Anthony as he tries to help Cynthia overcome her illness, and the two fall deeply in love with each other.

However, their happiness is threatened by Cynthia’s domineering and overprotective mother, played by Marcia Ralston.

“Under Your Spell” was praised for its charming performances and lighthearted tone, as well as for Tibbett’s powerful singing voice.

The film was also notable for its use of Technicolor, which was still a relatively new technology at the time.

The film’s colorful visuals and musical sequences were a major draw for audiences, and helped make it a box office success.

Overall, “Under Your Spell” is a delightful romantic comedy that showcases the talents of its cast and crew, and is an enjoyable and entertaining film that has stood the test of time.

3 Characteristics of Otto Preminger Films

Otto Preminger was a filmmaker known for his bold and provocative style, as well as his willingness to tackle controversial subjects. Here are three characteristics of his films:

Complex and controversial subject matter: Many of Preminger’s films dealt with taboo subjects such as drug addiction (“The Man with the Golden Arm”), homosexuality (“Advise and Consent”), and rape (“Anatomy of a Murder”).

He was known for his willingness to take on controversial themes and to explore the darker side of human nature.

Non-linear storytelling: Preminger often used non-linear storytelling techniques in his films, such as flashbacks and subjective viewpoints.

He was interested in exploring the subjective experiences of his characters and in challenging traditional narrative structures.

Auteur style: Preminger was known for his strong authorial voice and his distinctive visual style. He often used long takes, deep focus, and wide shots to create a sense of visual depth and complexity.

He was also interested in exploring the psychological dimensions of his characters and in creating complex and multi-layered narratives.

3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Otto Preminger Films

Otto Preminger was a prominent filmmaker known for his versatility and diverse range of films. Here are three reasons why you should watch his films:

Innovative Filmmaking Techniques: Preminger was known for his innovative and unconventional filmmaking techniques, often pushing the boundaries of what was considered acceptable for mainstream cinema.

For example, his film “Anatomy of a Murder” was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to use explicit language, and “The Moon is Blue” was controversial for its depiction of sexual promiscuity.

His films often tackled controversial subjects and challenged social norms, making them particularly relevant and thought-provoking for their time.

Strong Performances: Many of Preminger’s films featured strong performances from well-known actors, including James Stewart, Frank Sinatra, and Gene Tierney.

Preminger was known for his ability to elicit great performances from his actors, often allowing them to improvise and experiment with their roles.

This resulted in many memorable performances that helped to define the careers of some of Hollywood’s most iconic stars.

Overall, if you’re a fan of classic Hollywood cinema or simply looking to broaden your cinematic horizons, Otto Preminger’s films are definitely worth checking out.

With their innovative techniques, strong performances, and varied themes and genres, his films continue to captivate audiences today.

Best Otto Preminger Films – Wrapping Up

Otto Preminger was a highly influential and innovative filmmaker who made many memorable films throughout his career. Some of his best-known and most highly regarded films include:

“Laura” (1944)

“Anatomy of a Murder” (1959)

“Exodus” (1960)

“Advise and Consent” (1962)

“The Man with the Golden Arm” (1955)

“Saint Joan” (1957)

“Bunny Lake Is Missing” (1965)

“In Harm’s Way” (1965)

“The Cardinal” (1963)

“River of No Return” (1954)

These films represent a wide range of genres, from film noir to historical dramas to romantic comedies, and showcase Preminger’s versatility and skill as a filmmaker.

They feature strong performances from some of the biggest stars of their era, as well as innovative cinematography and storytelling techniques that have had a lasting impact on the film industry.

Overall, Otto Preminger was a major force in American cinema, and his films continue to be celebrated and studied today for their artistic merit and cultural significance.