Tom Tryon, better known today as a novelist (he is the author of, among other works, TheOther, a classic of modern horror), plays the title character. From humble curate in the poorestparish of Massachusetts, he rises, over twenty years, to become a cardinal. Along the way, sincethis is a three hour film, he encounters One Damn Thing After Another, from his sister’s desireto marry outside the faith, to abortion, racism, temptations of the flesh, the Nazis, and so on. Thewho…e nine yards. The film takes itself so seriously that it is, ironically, hard to take seriously,especially when it asks us to buy the idea of Burgess Meredith as a saintly priest. The script isparticularly hard to take. But Preminger puts the confection together with sufficient skill to makeit compelling.
A remarkably strong 2.0 mix for a 1963 film. The music is very strong, the sound is clean,and though there isn’t a full environment created by the sound effects, they have far morepresence than I was expecting. The quality of the voice reproduction is variable, but this mighthave more to do with the fact that the overall sound is so good: the moments of post-synchronization are now pretty obvious.
A gorgeous print, almost completely free of flaws or damage. Even the opening shots lookgreat, which isn’t always the case with older films. The ratio is 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen.The colours, contrasts, flesh tones and blacks are all very good. There is some haloing aroundthe edges, however, particularly noticeable when a character is wearing black. And giventhat our hero is a priest, that means most of the time.
Disc One has minimal extras: lists of awards, cast and crew. Disc Two has a feature-lengthdocumentary (2 hours): “Preminger: Anatomy of a Filmmaker.” While altogether too much timeis spent discussing his legendary temper, there is still plenty of very interesting stuff here. Thedocumentary was made in 1991, and one is rather painfully aware of this fact since many of theparticipants (including narrator Burgess Meredith) are now dead. The other extras here are theoriginal trailer and featurette. The menus of both discs have a scored main page.
A rather overwrought drama, but it grips you all the same. The documentary is worthcatching too, and certainly whets the appetite for future Preminger DVD releases.
Special Features List
- “Preminger: Anatomy of a Filmmaker” Documentary
- Cast and Crew List
- Awards List