The Religious Affiliation of Director
Otto Preminger was Jewish.
Preminger directed "Forever Amber", which was the 5th-highest grossing film in U.S. theaters in the year 1947. From: Susan Sackett, The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits, Billboard Publications: New York City (1990), page 71:
Written in 1945, Kathleen Winsor's 956-page novel sold over 3,000,000 copies and still holds up as a good read today. Fox bought the book and spent over $6,000,000 getting it on film, an unheard-of sum... Part of the high cost was due to a number of problems. Darryl F. Zanuck hired and then fired John Stahl as director. He found his replacement in Otto Preminger, who hated the book. Zanuck reminded him of his option contract, which still had six year to run... Preminger spent recklessly. The Great Fire of London sequence was shot five times...
The book had the dubious honor of being literally "banned in Boston," and the Catholic Legion of Decency demanded a screening before giving the film its official recommendation.
In the story, Amber, a poor, ambitious 17th-century peasant, does a lot of bed-hopping until she eventually gains favor in the court of Charles II. She's the quintessential flirt who makes Scarlett O'Hara seem like a shrinking violet. At the initial screening, the Legion of Decency first asked that the title be changed, then demanded that all love scenes be cut at the point where the lips are about to touch. There were other equally absurd demands. Preminger refused, and the film was officially banned, the Legion calling it "a glorification of immorality and licentiousness." This was followed by a message from Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, advising that "Catholics may not see [Forever Amber] with a safe conscience. The message was to be read at all masses in the archdiocese on Sunday.
The picture was recalled, cuts were made, and the Legion gave the film a tenuous approval. But Forever Amber never recouped its expenses.
From: Denis Brian, Tallulah, Darling: A Biography of Tallulah Bankhead, MacMillan Publishing: New York (1980), pages 90-91:
The newspaper headlines were becoming more arresting than even the most provocative Broadway dialogue... Hitler had occupied Austria and was shaping up for a try at surpassing Napoleon and Genghis Khan. He was threatening the lives of Jews in Nazi-occupied territory and among them were relatives of stage director Otto Preminger.
Tallulah knew Preminger slightly and heard that he was desperate. His father, his brother, and his brother's family were trapped in Austria.
[Tallulah talked to her father and uncle, one of whom was a U.S. Senator and the other was in the U.S. House of Representatives, and secured their assistance in passing a special bill that in Congress to get Otto Premger's family out of Europe.]
Webpage created 23 June 2005. Last modified 30 July 2005.
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