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Movies: “The Cardinal”

Dec. 23, 1963 - Opening today is “The Cardinal,” a drama produced independently, directed by Otto Preminger (pictured center), and distributed by Columbia Pictures. The film’s cast features Tom Tryon, Romy Schneider, and John Huston. The screenplay was written by Robert Dozier, based on the novel of the same name (1950) by Henry Morton Robinson. The story deals with a young Catholic priest (Tryon) from Boston who confronts bigotry, Nazism, and his own personal conflicts as he rises to the office of cardinal. Robinson’s novel was based on the life of Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, who had served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston from 1932 to 1939. The film is shown as a series of memory flashbacks during a formal ceremony where the protagonist is instituted as a cardinal. Saul Bass designed the film's poster and advertising campaign as well as the film titles, during which Bass transforms a walk through the Vatican into an abstract play of horizontal and vertical lines.


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