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Otto Preminger

(1905—1986) Austrian-born American film director


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(1906–1986)

Austrian-born US film and theatre director and producer.

The holder of a doctorate in law from the university in his native Vienna, Preminger did not pursue a legal career; instead, he entered the theatre as an actor with Max Reinhardt's company in 1923. He subsequently became a director and took over responsibility for the Josefstadt Theatre. His New York debut came with Libel (1935), after which he produced several other Broadway successes. He became an associate professor at Yale University (1938–41) and then joined Twentieth Century Fox as producer and director (1941–51). Notable among his early films were Laura (1944), Fallen Angel (1945), Forever Amber (1947), and Daisy Kenyon (1948).

Some of his films as an independent producer were to prove milestones in the history of the cinema: The Moon is Blue (1953) broke the censorship barrier of the day with its mature and frank dialogue, while The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) uncovered new ground with its handling of drug addiction. He also produced adaptations of Bizet's Carmen, Carmen Jones (1954), Shaw's Saint Joan (1957), and Françoise Sagan's Bonjour Tristesse (1958), the last two starring Jean Seberg (1938–79). Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Exodus (1960), Advise and Consent (1962), and The Cardinal (1963) were among his other successes. Preminger: An Autobiography was published in 1977.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Music Theatre.


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