Otto Preminger, updated edition
The Man Who Would Be King
In Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King, Foster Hirsch reveals the genius and torture behind the renowned director and producer. Known as "Otto the Terrible", Preminger balanced style and steadfast belief in his actors' underacting was at odds against his own hot-tempered personality. Yet it was this fire and determination to get his way that allowed this native European to become one of America's most progressive directors. He defied and undermined the Production Code of the Motion Picture Association of America and the Catholic Legion of Decency in some of his most important films (The Moon is Blue, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Anatomy of a Murder) when they demanded changes to his artistic vision. He broke many social barriers by becoming the industry's leading employer of both African American and blacklisted performers—his all-black Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess remain landmarks in the history of racial representation on the American screen—and later by shooting American film's first ever scene set in a gay bar.
In this full-scale biography of the controversial, underrated, yet greatly admired movie titan, Foster Hirsch shows us the man—enraging and endearing—and his brilliant work.
About the Author
"Meticulously researched with nearly 100 new interviews with family members and coworkers, this epic biography offers a multifaceted portrait of the Viennese-born filmmaker and reappraisal of his filmsFilm buffs will enjoy the candid looks behind his volatile productions (including Laura, Anatomy of a Murder, Hurry Sundown). Historians will appreciate Preminger's belated recognition for breaking the blacklist . . . . This is a long-overdue critical biography of the temperamental titan with a genius for self-promotion."—Publishers Weekly
"In Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King, Brooklyn College film historian Foster Hirsch weaves interviews with industry players and family members into a straightforward chronology of Preminger's wide-ranging career. This comprehensive
biography of the redoubtable impresario is the first since Preminger's ghostwritten account in 1977 Hirsch does not position Preminger as 'an artistic renegade determined to dismantle the system's visual codes,' but he takes the director's films seriously, offering cogent analyses not only of the classics but also of the underrated (1979's 'The Human Factor') and the unratable (1975's 'Rosebud') What ultimately emerges from the many voices and extensive quotes in this book is not so much a portrait of the man as of his reflection flickering in the eyes of the people who loved and feared him."—Los Angeles Times Reviews
"Mr. Hirsch proves a good guide through the perplexing duality of Preminger's lifeFoster Hirsch has written a balanced, intelligent, compelling biography of a very erratic director."—Scott Eyman, The Observer
"Foster Hirsch's massive, sympathetic new biography Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King nakedly aspires to rehabilitate Preminger's tattered reputation. Hirsch's prolonged defense of Preminger's eclectic, oft-maligned oeuvre is comprehensive and scholarly."—Nathan Rabin, AV Club
|University Press of Kentucky|
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