The Cardinal | Chicago Reader

The Cardinal

Otto Preminger's epic study of a young priest's rise through the Vatican, set against a background of 20th-century social upheaval, was largely despised in its time (1963). But Preminger's legion of detractors has always had a hard time seeing past the triteness of his forms to the high quality of his execution. This is an extremely well constructed film, made with a balance that keeps its overflowing plot line in perfect control. Tom Tryon, in the lead, is not all that might be asked for, but the large supporting cast does its work well, contributing a fine texture without the sense of intrusion that cameo parts generally entail. Among the stars are Romy Schneider, John Huston, Ossie Davis, and Raf Vallone.

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