Login | Forgot Password? | Join the Community
Otto Preminger DIRECTOR


Otto Ludwig Preminger was born December 5, 1905 in Vienna, Austria. As a teenager, Preminger acted in Vienna, working his way up to become a theater manager by the age of nineteen. By twenty, he had also accumulated a law degree. However, he was more interested in the dramatic arts than following in his father’s footsteps to become an attorney. Preminger worked with German stage producer Max Reinhardt before directing his first movie, “Die Grosse Liebe” or “The Great Love” (1931). However, he was Jewish, and in 1935 he thought it smart to flee from Austria to escape Nazi threat. He relocated to New York where he took up an invitation to direct Broadway plays.

The next year, he elected to move to Hollywood to direct motion pictures. Preminger made the films “Under Your Spell” (1936) and “Danger: Love at Work” (1937) for Daryl F. Zanuck’s 20th Century Fox. Clashes with Zanuck led the director to return to New York for Broadway at the end of the decade. He came back to Hollywood in the early forties to a contract with Fox that would last until 1952. Many times he depicted Nazi characters in films like “The Pied Piper” (1942) and “They Got Me Covered” (1943), even though he was Jewish. Preminger got into directing again with an adaptation of one of the plays he had directed on Broadway, “Margin for Error” (1943), which he also had an acting part in. Next came “In the Meantime, Darling” (1944), a film that marked the beginning of his production career. Directly following, Preminger directed and produced the thrillerLaura” (1944). It became a commercial success, even earning an Academy Award nomination.

During the rest of his stay at Fox, he produced nothing of much acclaim. Not until the early fifties, when he started his own independent directing/producing company, Carlyle Productions, did he turn out work of any merit. Preminger began to break several taboos by defying Hollywood’s Production Code and relaxing censorship laws. His first work, “The Moon is Blue” (1953), was a light sexual comedy that used words like “virgin”, “pregnant”, and “seduce”, which were unheard of at the time to employ. It became the first commercial feature to be released without the seal of approval from the Motion Picture Association of America. He departed from directing and producing with the comedic war drama “Stalag 17” (1953), in which he actually had the title role. In 1954 he went back behind the camera and showed some variety in his filmmaking, directing the westernerRiver of No Return” and musical “Carmen Jones”. However, he returned to the touchy subjects when he directed and produced “The Man with the Golden Arm” (1955), in which Frank Sinatra portrayed a drug addict. The film was banned in many cities, although the director went up against the courts and beat the censors to get it released. His next taboo feature was “Bonjour Tristesse” (1958), a picture that focused on a teenage girl’s entanglement in her father’s womanizing ways. He once again returned to the musical genre with George and Ira Gershwin’s operetta “Porgy and Bess” (1959). The production company was Samuel Goldwyn’s Columbia Pictures, and Preminger argued with Goldwyn about almost every detail. However, this occurrence was not unheard of, as the director was seen by many as strict and tyrannical. On one set, he even told a group of children: “Cry, you little monsters!” Additionally, he was scornful and boorish to his actors, once saying “I do not accept advice from actors, they are here to act.” Nevertheless, he continued on to construct a handful of popular films.

One such example was the murder/rape courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Murder” (1959) starring James Stewart, which was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. In 1960 Preminger unveiled his epic “Exodus”, although the buildup he created was far more impressive the actual movie itself. He released the homosexual sub themed political drama “Advise and Consent” in 1962 and it became extremely popular. Unfortunately, this film seemed to mark the downward slope of Preminger’s vigor and vitality. In 1963 he unleashed “The Cardinal”, a drama based centered on the Vatican hierarchy and one priest’s rise to power. Soon after, he played the villainous character Mr. Freeze on “Batman” (1966), a popular television series.

By the late 1960s, it became more obvious that Preminger’s Hollywood power was fading. He directed the race melodrama “Hurry Sundown” (1967), followed by “Skidoo” (1968) and “Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon” (1970), all of which were flips. The seventies also saw two futile thrillers, “Rosebud” (1975) and “The Human Factor” (1979), both of which were completely ignored by the public. Additionally, he played the voice of a cartoon character on the TV movie “The Hobbit” in 1977. On April 23, 1986, in New York City, Preminger died from lung cancer, although he had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for quite some time. He was eighty years of age. For his contributions to the motion picture industry, he was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1986       Cinéma cinémas

1979       The Human Factor

1977       The Hobbit  

1975       Rosebud

1971       Such Good Friends 

1970       Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon  

1968       Skidoo  

1967       Hurry Sundown  

1966       Batman  

1965       Bunny Lake Is Missing 

1965       In Harm's Way  

1963       The Cardinal 

1962       Advise & Consent

1960       Exodus

1959       Porgy and Bess

1959       Anatomy of a Murder 

1958       Bonjour tristesse 

1957       Saint Joan

1955       The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell  

1955       The Man with the Golden Arm

1954       River of No Return 

1954       Producers' Showcase 

1954       Carmen Jones

1954       Suspense

1953       Die Jungfrau auf dem Dach 

1953       Stalag 17

1953       The Moon Is Blue

1952       Angel Face    

1951       The Billy Rose Show

1951       The 13th Letter 

1950       Where the Sidewalk Ends

1949       Whirlpool 

1949       The Fan 

1948       That Lady in Ermine    

1947       Forever Amber

1947       Daisy Kenyon

1946       Centennial Summer

1945       A Royal Scandal 

1945       Where Do We Go from Here?

1945       Fallen Angel 

1944       Laura 

1944       In the Meantime, Darling 

1943       They Got Me Covered 

1943       Margin for Error 

1942       The Pied Piper 

1938       Kidnapped 

1937       Danger: Love at Work 

1936       Under Your Spell 

1931       The Great Love   

Matinee Classics - In Harm's Way starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Tom Tryon, Paula Prentiss, Brandon de Wilde, Jill Haworth, Dana Andrews, Stanley Holloway, Burgess Meredith, Franchot Tone, Henry Fonda, George Kennedy, James Mitchum, Carroll O'Connor and Larry Hagman
Matinee Classics - Anatomy of a Murder starring James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, Kathryn Grant, George C. Scott, Orson Bean, Russ Brown, Murray Hamilton, Brooks West, Ken Lynch, John Qualen, Howard McNear, Emily Eby, Alexander Campbell, Joseph N. Welch and Duke Ellington
Matinee Classics - River of No Return starring Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe, Rory Calhoun, Tommy Rettig, Douglas Spencer and Murvyn Vye
Matinee Classics - Stalag 17 starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck, Peter Graves, Sig Ruman, Neville Brand, Richard Erdman, Michael Moore, Peter Baldwin, Robinson Stone, Robert Shawley, William Pierson, Gil Stratton, Jay Lawrence, Erwin Kalser and Paul Salata

Copyright © 2014 Matinee Classics LLC - All Rights Reserved. Developed by: VividConcept.com