Elmer Gantry (1960)
Elmer Gantry Photos
as Elmer Gantry
as Lulu Bains
as Sister Sharon Falconer/Katy Jones
as William L. Morgan
as Jim Lefferts
as Sister Rachel
as George Babbit
as Rev. Pengilly
as Rev. Brown
as Rev. Phillips
as Rev. Bill Garrison
as Rev. Planck
as Rev. Ulrich
as Capt. Holt
as Eddington, Publisher
as Sam, Storekeeper
as Clean-Up Man
as Benny, Photographer
as Deaf Man
Critic Reviews for Elmer Gantry
Brooks honors the spirit of Lewis' cynical commentary on circus-type primitive exhortation with pictorial imagery that is always pungent. He also has written dialog that is frank and biting.
With a host of fine performances, and a strong sense of period and place conveyed by John Alton's lush camerawork, there's still plenty to enjoy.
The briskly paced drama of a religious opportunist, his colleagues and his times utilizes the tools of the motion picture in expert fashion.
The title-role character, a preacher with a weakness for wild women and whisky, is more believable in scriptwriter-director Richard Brooks' film than he was in the Sinclair Lewis novel; the part is played with skill and gusto by Burt Lancaster.
Audience Reviews for Elmer Gantry
A snake-oil preacher woos a revivalist, and together they build a following, but will his dishonesty hurt their partnership more than his charisma helps their cause? Burt Lancaster's finest performance showcases his over-the-top antics and his remarkably seductive charm and his ability to convey a soulful depth of character. He rises to the challenge of the perfect part for his talents. Jean Simmons, always demure, also gives a strong, subtle performance as Sister Sharon Falconer, a well-meaning but manipulated revivalist. The film's satire pillories ignorance and theft more than it levels its glass at religious fervor. It doesn't suggest that religion is bullshit because we see a proper refutation in the person of well-meaning religious people, but it does say that people are no more easily manipulated than when they are are pushed by either faith or their genitals. Seems like apt criticism to me. Overall, your patience with this film will depend on your reaction to Lancaster's antics and the film's thesis.
I find it very difficult to believe that Elmer Gantry made in to movie screens in 1960. It almost seems like a lynchpin or things to come in the decade. Religious satire mixed with the amazing performance of Burt Lancaster. Unbelievable. There's also a great performance from Jean Simmons, as well as fantastic direction from Richard Brooks. There's also some great photography and location work on display to boot. Oh, and a fantastic script from beginning to end. A brilliant little film.
Richard Brooks mesmeriising adaptation of Sinclair Lewis's book (--- what's killing Christianity is not unbelievers on the outside but rather the phony piety of those professing belief---) is chock full of noteworthy performances and riveting scenes as a silky smooth talking con man joins a Christian tent revivalist across America's Bible Belt. The film actually begins with a printed warning to keep youngsters away ... nuff said.
Elmer Gantry Quotes
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