Stephen Fermoyle has grown up in Boston at the turn of the twentieth century knowing that his destiny lies with the Catholic priesthood. Finally finishing his studies in Rome, he returns to America full of certitude and ambition to one day join the College of Cardinals. But his road to that office is a long one, paved with crises. In Boston, he must decide whether to save the life of his sister or her unborn child, conceived out of wedlock. In Austria, he confronts the question of whether to remain with the priesthood or abandon his oath so that he can be with the woman he loves. In Georgia, he contends with Rome's indifference in the face of racial bigotry. And in Austria, he finds himself personally involved in the church's dealings with the Third Reich. Written by
Shannon Patrick Sullivan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
All along the movie, we see, leading to St Peter's square, the Via della Conciliazione and its palazzi, built for the Holy Year of 1950, under the pontificate of Pius XII, whose election Cardinal Fermoyle is supposed to take part at the very end of the movie. See more »
The stiffness in the telling marks the destiny of this confused tale. At times is quite simply, unendurable. The wooden rigidity of Tom Tryon makes things even harder to take. Unconvincing should be the polite way of putting it. Preminger shows an eye for the travelogue part but a total diffidence in the subject at hand. No feel for it at all. Solemnity shouldn't be the way but it is and a rather phony solemnity at that. At times, they all behave like creatures from another planet and nothing they say or do sounds or looks credible. The over long saga is told in little disjointed episodes, the only thing that remains constant is the inexpressive brow of Mr Tryon. Most of Otto Preminger's opus looks terribly dated now. "The Cardinal" is, perhaps, the most dated. Carol Linley goes from saintly sister to exotic dancer in one single throw and Romy Schnaider has a brief and calculated moment. If I had to save something it would be the scene in which John Huston goes to visit his dying friend Burgess Meredith. But those kind of moments are rare. For some reason that I haven't been able to figure out there is a long musical number by Robert Morse, but as absurd as it was, it came as a welcome change from the agonizing pace the film suffers through its interminable length.
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