I was very impressed by Tom Tryon as Father StephenFermoyle. He had a serenity and natural gravity that lent itself well to the role of a priest. Yet you also knew his character cared very much for what he did through the facial expressions that seemed truly genuine. I heard that Otto Preminger gave Tom Tryon a very difficult time during this film. This role was to be Tryon's breakout performance to make him a major star. Unfortunately, it didn't happen as this film went on to tank at the box office. It however did get 6 Oscar Nominations and a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama in 1964. Tryon did some more acting roles but found that his writing career was more fruitful. And in the end, that career led to more successful films in the adaptations of his works.
I suggest you do two things. First is watch The Cardinal. You definitely Otto see it, especially if you have an interest in religion like I do or even if you enjoy a good story (and some Burgess Meredith). Second, go out and buy a copy of The Other, Tryon's novel which has just been reissued this month by Millipede Press (in paperback, hardcover and leatherbound editions).