The Cinema of Otto Preminger - Gerald Pratley - 1971 Castle Hardback

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The Cinema of Otto Preminger


From Vienna to New York, across forty years of cinema—in some ways Otto Preminger is not the same man at all. Physically he looks different, and changing languages changes a person.

He has worked for more years in English than he has in German; but spiritually he is the same, remaining true to his beliefs and living up to his standards. His life has been varied, full and active, and lived in many different places, encompassing the "old" world and the "new," ranging from the Thirties to the Seven-ties, from Vienna's theatres to 20th Century-Fox's sound stages, and covering an era of achievement peopled by artists,

technicians and


some of whom have faded into movie and theatrical history. It has been a lifetime of effort through which Preminger has battled great storms and emerged triumphant as his own master in a house usually owned by others.

At a time when most directors call themselves "independent," the only American filmmaker who comes close to achieving such an ideal working condition is Otto Preminger, the man who originally started the independent movement away from the major studios. The reason for this is simple to explain, but not easy for others to achieve: he asserts complete control over everything he does and never relinquishes it until his films are out of distribution. Even then, the pictures remain under his juris-diction. It is interesting to look back  over the years and see that the absolute control which Zanuck once held over 20th Century-Fox and every filmmaker who worked for him has now been achieved by Preminger. Preminger is a dictator in that he is a law unto himself with his work,

is answerable only to himself, and performs all the functions necessary to prepare, produce, direct, and show his films.

Preminger's work is eclectic, reflecting his catholic tastes in literature, art, and all human pursuits. It is possible to find in his films themes found only singly in other directors' work: obsession in love and greed for power; politics in government and big business; discrimination and alienation among individuals and groups; the fight for liberty in the physical, legal, and personal sense; feminine mystique and male mythology, shown in their true light; war and peace, love and hatred, psychological and social values; and imaginative interpretations of well-known events. Preminger is a realist who brings objectivity to all his work.

The Cinema of Otto Preminger focuses on the important films of the director, as well as the director himself.

It will be an invaluable book for any student of film.