Lizzie Curry is on the verge of becoming a hopeless old maid. Her wit and intelligence and skills as a homemaker can't make up for the fact that she's just plain plain! Even the town ... See full summary »
Elmer Gantry is a fast talking, hard drinking traveling salesman who always has a risqué story and a hip flask to entertain cronies and customers alike. He is immediately taken with Sister Sharon Falconer, a lay preacher whose hellfire and damnation revivalism has attracted quite a following. Gantry uses his own quick wit and knowledge of the bible to become an indispensable part of Sister Sharon's roadshow but soon finds that his past catches up with him in the form of Lulu Bains, now a prostitute. While Gantry seeks and eventually gets forgiveness from Sharon, tragedy strikes when she finally manages to get out of her revivalist tent and opens a permanent church. Written by
I have here in my pocket - and thank heaven you can't see them - lewd, dirty, obscene, and I'm ashamed to say this: French postcards. They were sold to me in front of your own innocent high school by a man with a black beard... a foreigner.
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Scrolled before the opening credits: "We believe that certain aspects of Revivalism can bear examination- that the conduct of some revivalists makes a mockery of the traditional beliefs and practices of organized Christianity! We believe that everyone has a right to worship according to his conscience, but- Freedom of Religion is not license to abuse the faith of the people! However, due to the highly controversial nature of this film, we strongly urge you to prevent impressionable children from seeing it!" See more »
This is the movie Steve Martin was trying to make when he did "Leap of Faith"
The titular character starts out as a cynical small time hustler discovering a good scam joining up with a traveling revival show, and casting his eye to the charismatic and comely lady preacher leading it.
What is really good is how the character develops, and gradually becomes a good sincere Christian, which is best seen in his interaction with the Shirley Jones character.
She is a preacher's kid who was disowned by her father before the start of the movie timeline after he caught Elmer "ramming the fear of god" into her. She has since become a prostitute, and has the opportunity to repay Elmer's earlier callous treatment.
Oh, yes, I know these people, or at least watered down real life versions of them. This movie really gets at the charismatic Christianity of the heartlands, and the strong sexual tensions running just beneath the surface. Oh, I bet Jimmy Swaggart for one knew JUST what they were getting at.
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