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The Cardinal


The Cardinal

Follow Boston priest from ordination through becoming a cardinal. Has various encounters with nazis, kkk, inter-religious tensions, abortion etc. 1964 Golden Globe movie of the year. Best supporting Actor.
The Cardinal is a 1963 American drama film which was produced independently and directed by Otto Preminger, and distributed by Columbia Pictures. The screenplay was written by Robert Dozier, based on the novel of the same name (1950) by Henry Morton Robinson.

Its cast featured Tom TryonRomy Schneider and John Huston and the film was nominated for six Academy Awards.

The film was shot on location in Boston, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Rome and Vienna; the music score was written by Jerome MorossThe Cardinal featured the final appearance by veteran film star Dorothy Gish.

Robinson’s novel was based on the life of Cardinal Francis Spellman, who was then Archbishop of New York. The Vatican‘s liaison officer for the film was Joseph Ratzinger, later to become Pope Benedict XVI.


The film shows the life of a fictional Irish Catholic priest, Stephen Fermoyle, played by Tom Tryon, from his ordination in 1917 to his appointment as a cardinal on the eve of World War II. Fermoyle goes through one crisis after another, first in his own family and then as he climbs up the ladder of the church hierarchy back in his Boston parish and later in Rome within the Vatican. The film touches on various social issues such as interfaith marriage, sex outside of marriage, abortionracial bigotry, the rise of fascism, and war.



The film won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama, marking the last time (as of 2012) a film won that category without later being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.   Preminger was nominated for an Academy Award for Best DirectorJohn Huston was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. Huston’s role as Cardinal Glennon was his official debut as an actor although he had previously played bit roles in several films including his own The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). Other Academy Awards nominations were for Best Cinematography (Leon Shamroy), Best Art Direction (Lyle R. Wheeler and set decorator Gene Callahan), Best Costume Design (Donald Brooks), and Best Film Editing (Louis R. Loeffler).

  1. The only other films to have done this are East of Eden (1955) and Spartacus (1960).

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