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Otto Preminger Centennial Tribute

Laura (1944) directed by Otto Preminger, starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price

Otto Preminger directed Laura, Fallen Angel, Daisy Kenyon, River of No Return, Carmen Jones, Advise & Consent, Bunny Lake Is MissingThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' "A Centennial Tribute to Otto Preminger" will be hosted by Peter Bogdanovich at 8 p.m. on November 2, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills. The tribute will include a selection of film clips and comments from Preminger's colleagues and family, and in the following days it will continue with a retrospective featuring recent restorations and newly made prints, some of those from the Otto Preminger Collection at the Academy Film Archive.

When not driving his stars up the wall — Preminger did have a reputation for being, to put it mildly, more than a little difficult — the director spent his time giving Freudian nightmares to the reactionary prudes at the Production Code Administration.

The Moon Is Blue (1953) directed by Otto Preminger, starring William Holden, Maggie McNamara, David NivenIn 1953, his independently-produced sex comedy The Moon Is Blue dared to have its characters utter words such as "virgin" (it was released without a Production Code seal of approval), while the 1955 melodrama The Man with the Golden Arm dealt with heroin addiction, and the 1959 courtroom comedy-drama Anatomy of a Murder revolved around a rape accusation. Preminger also caused consternation to the rabid right by hiring blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo to write the screenplay for Exodus, a whitewashed (and tedious) account of the founding of Israel.

Preminger started his career as an actor at Max Reinhardt's Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna, the city of his birth (which took place either in 1905 or 1906, depending on the source — the Academy has opted for the latter date, as mentioned by the director in his autobiography). He directed his first film in 1931, Die Große Liebe / The Great Love, and came to Hollywood in 1935 at the invitation of 20th Century-Fox executive Joseph Schenck.

Clashes with studio head Darryl Zanuck kept Preminger away from the Fox lot until 1942, when he directed and acted in Margin for Error, from a Broadway play in which he had also played the dual role of actor-director. (At the time, Zanuck was conveniently caught up in World War II affairs.)

Laura (1944) directed by Otto Preminger, starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, Judith Anderson

Among Preminger's best-known American films are the 1944 romantic mystery thriller Laura, starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney (with both of whom Preminger would work again in Where the Sidewalk Ends in 1950); Angel Face, a 1952 film noir with Jean Simmons and Robert Mitchum; Carmen Jones, an all-black version of Carmen, starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte; and River of No Return, a romantic Western with Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe.

In Europe, Preminger directed two of his best films, Bonjour Tristesse, a 1958 family drama starring Deborah Kerr, David Niven, and Jean Seberg (all of whom are supposed to be French, but if one ignores that absurdity the film — based on Françoise Sagan's novel — is quite remarkable), and the 1965 psychological thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing, starring Carol Lynley, Keir Dullea, and Laurence Olivier.

Throughout his uneven career — for about every Laurathere was an Exodus — Preminger received two Academy Award nominations: for the aforementioned Laura in 1944 and for The Cardinal in 1963. He also helped nine performers receive Oscar nominations, including Clifton Webb in Laura, Maggie McNamara in The Moon Is Blue, Frank Sinatra in The Man with the Golden Arm, James Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder, and fellow director John Huston (playing a cardinal) in The Cardinal.

Preminger photo © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"A Centennial Tribute to Otto Preminger" continues with a film series at the Academy's Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood:

Friday, November 3, at 7 p.m.
The Man with the Golden Arm (1955); 119 mins. Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak
Premiering a new restoration by the Academy Film Archive.

Laura (1944); 85 mins. Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price
Featuring a new print by 20th Century Fox.

Saturday, November 4, at 7 p.m.
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950); 95 mins. Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews
Premiering a new restoration by the Academy Film Archive and 20th Century Fox.

Daisy Kenyon (1947); 99 mins. Joan Crawford, Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews
Featuring a new print by 20th Century Fox.

Friday, November 10, at 7 p.m.
The Moon is Blue (1953); 99 mins. William Holden, Maggie McNamara, David Niven
Premiering a new restoration by the Academy Film Archive.

Bonjour Tristesse (1958) directed by Otto Preminger, starring Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Jean Seberg

Bonjour Tristesse (1958); 94 mins. Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Jean Seberg
Featuring a recently restored print by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Saturday, November 11, at 7 p.m.
Whirlpool (1950), 97 mins. Gene Tierney, Richard Conte, Jose Ferrer, Charles Bickford
Featuring a new print by 20th Century Fox.

Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) directed by Otto Preminger, starring Carol Lynley, Keir Dullea, Laurence Olivier

Bunny Lake is Missing (1965); 107 mins. Carol Lynley, Keir Dullea, Laurence Olivier
Featuring a recently restored print by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Sunday, November 12, at 7 p.m.
Anatomy of a Murder (1959), 160 mins. James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, George C. Scott, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden
Featuring a recently restored print by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Otto Preminger, directed Laura, The Moon Is Blue, The Man with the Golden Arm, Forever Amber, River of No Return, Anatomy of a MurderMore on the Academy's Centennial Tribute to Otto Preminger

Below is the official press release from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Press Release:

Beverly Hills, CA — Academy Award®-nominated director Peter Bogdanovich will join actresses Carol Lynley and Eva Marie Saint for a centennial tribute to three-time Academy Award-nominated director and producer Otto Preminger on Thursday, November 2, at 8 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The tribute, hosted by Bogdanovich, will present a selection of film clips and onstage discussions with Hope and Victoria Preminger, the director's widow and daughter, respectively, as well as Lynley and Saint.

Born in Vienna, Austria on December 5, 1906, Preminger worked as a stage actor and director throughout Europe, making his film directorial debut in 1931 with a German-language melodrama called Die Grosse Liebe (The Great Love).

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) directed by Otto Preminger, starring Gene Tierney, Dana AndrewsArriving in the United States in 1935 at the invitation of 20th Century-Fox, Preminger earned his first Academy Award nomination in 1944 for directing Laura and went on to direct a number of important films for the studio, including Fallen Angel, Forever Amber, Where the Sidewalk Ends and River of No Return.

Preminger delighted in challenging authority, a quality that often led to clashes with studio executives and censors. In the early 1950s, Preminger formed his own production company, and as an independent producer he became known for taking on controversial topics. He explored the themes of sexual promiscuity, heroin addiction and rape in such films as The Moon Is Blue, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Anatomy of a Murder. He also maintained his connection to theater by directing film adaptations of stage productions, including the black-cast musicals Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess.

Preminger received his second directing nomination for The Cardinal in 1963; he was also nominated for producing Anatomy of a Murder.

As part of the centennial celebration, the Academy will also present a retrospective film series highlighted by recent restorations and newly made prints from the Otto Preminger Collection at the Academy Film Archive.

The screening series, to be held at the Academy's Linwood Dunn Theater, will feature:

Friday, November 3, at 7 p.m.

The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) directed by Otto Preminger, starring Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak
The Man with the Golden Arm
Premiering a new restoration by the Academy Film Archive
Laura
Featuring a new print by 20th Century Fox

 

Saturday, November 4, at 7 p.m.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Premiering a new restoration by the Academy Film Archive and 20th Century Fox

Daisy Kenyon (1946) directed by Otto Preminger, starring Joan Crawford, Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews
Daisy Kenyon
Featuring a new print by 20th Century Fox

 

Friday, November 10, at 7 p.m.

The Moon Is Blue (1953) directed by Otto Preminger, starring William Holden, David Niven, Maggie McNamara
The Moon Is Blue
Premiering a new restoration by the Academy Film Archive

Bonjour Tristesse (1958) directed by Otto Preminger, starring Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Jean Seberg
Bonjour Tristesse
Featuring a recently restored print by Sony Pictures Entertainment

 

Saturday, November 11, at 7 p.m.

Whirlpool (1949) directed by Otto Preminger, starring Gene Tierney, Richard Conte, Jose Ferrer, Charles Bickford
Whirlpool
Featuring a new print by 20th Century Fox
Bunny Lake Is Missing
Featuring a recently restored print by Sony Pictures Entertainment

 

Sunday, November 12, at 7 p.m.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959) directed by Otto Preminger, starring James Stewart, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick, George C. Scott, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden
Anatomy of a Murder
Featuring a recently restored print by Sony Pictures Entertainment

 

Tickets to A Centennial Tribute to Otto Preminger and for each screening in the accompanying film series are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the tribute and 6 p.m. for the screenings. Seats are unreserved.

The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Free parking is provided in the garages located at 8920 and 9025 Wilshire Boulevard.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at the Academy's Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study at 1313 North Vine Street in Hollywood. Parking is available behind the building through the entrance on Homewood Avenue. For additional information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org/events.

Photos © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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4 Comments to Otto Preminger Centennial Tribute

  1. Andre

    Fouad,

    "The Man with the Golden Arm" is up there in the article. There's a still of Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak.

  2. fouad sheikhly

    Dear Sirs,

    otto preminger,one of his films wich should

    always be mentioned was(The man wiyh Golden Arm)

    staring Frank Sinatra And the most beautiful Kim

    Novak.

    Thank you

  3. Andre

    I mention how much I like "Bunny Lake Is Missing" in my previous article on the Otto Preminger tribute. I've seen it twice, and even though the second time around I knew from the beginning who had done what to whom I still found "Bunny Lake" an engrossing thriller.

    Carol Lynley was excellent in it. She was an effective actress, and deserved to have landed better roles in better films than she usually did.

  4. Daniel Camargo

    Premminger surely deserves a tribute like this. One of his films I most like and think that should be mentioned everytime his name is being discussed or remembered is 1965 Bunny Lake Is Missing.




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