Herr Commandant


Maybe it’s hard to recall now, in our niche-marketed age of YouTube auteurs, but there was a time when Hollywood directors owned popular personas that were more akin to what culture today expects from hip-hop stars.

Indeed, the phrase “notorious big” would fit Otto Preminger perfectly, although the prolific filmmaker (37 movies in 48 years) and sometime actor had a few alter-egos of his own: “the man you love to hate” (after Erich Von Stroheim), Mr. Freeze (the climate-altering supervillain he played in a 1966 episode of TV’s “Batman”), and Herr Commandant (Col. von Scherbach in Billy Wilder’s “Stalag 17,” in which the Austrian Jew gave a defining, campy performance as a Nazi). Like two other larger-than-life directors, Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, Preminger enjoyed a colorful profile that existed well beyond his work onscreen.

more from the NY Sun here.