Director and producer Otto Preminger was one of the greatest off-screen talents of his day. Raised in Vienna, Austria, Preminger sought work in theater and film before ultimately moving to America before becoming a powerhouse of the film industry.
Preminger directed films across a wide array of film genres, taking on projects big and small. Though he accomplished much for the silver screen, behind the scenes, he was dubbed “Otto the Terrible” due to his temper. Nonetheless, his demanding nature elicited strong performances and an inimitable artistic style.
As the years went on, Preminger faced many obstacles that could have affected his craft. The Production Code, for one, aimed to impose limitations upon the artistic visions of numerous off-screen elites, including Preminger; nonetheless, he undermined the Code and executed his intended vision in creative ways. Additionally, he fought social barriers by employing blacklisted and African American performers, in addition to shooting America’s first scene set in a gay bar.
Foster Hirsch’s Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would be King, published by the University Press of Kentucky, expertly delves into the life and career of Preminger. Hirsch documents the high and low points of Preminger’s life while supplementing it with interesting photographs. Hirsch’s biography is well-researched, thorough, and a worthy tribute to this difficult albeit brilliant talent.