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The World's Greatest Sinner (1962)

 |  Drama  |  June 1962 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 485 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 14 critic

A bored insurance salesman quits his job to go into politics. He first starts preaching about how man is greater than he thinks and that man can live forever. He ends up forming his own ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Clarence Hilliard
Gil Barreto ...
Alonzo (as Gil Baretto)
Betty Rowland ...
Edna Hilliard
James Farley ...
Gail Griffin ...
Betty Hilliard (as Gail Griffen)
Tyde Rule ...
Follower
Gene Koziol ...
Follower
Dayna Madison ...
Follower (as Dana Madison)
Gitta Maynard ...
Elderly Woman
...
Follower
Betty Sturm ...
Follower
Marty Prisco ...
Follower
Grace De Carolis ...
Mother
Carolina Samario ...
Nate
George F. Carey ...
Follower
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Storyline

A bored insurance salesman quits his job to go into politics. He first starts preaching about how man is greater than he thinks and that man can live forever. He ends up forming his own political party, "The Eternal Man" party. He begins to be referred to as "God". Then he starts having doubts about the eternalness of man. Written by J. Picagli <mirjen@ibm.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama

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Release Date:

June 1962 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$90,000 (estimated)
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| (Technicolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Composer Frank Zappa plugged this film during a "musical bicycle" demonstration on the Steve Allen Show in 1963. See more »

Goofs

When Clarence/God destroys his guitar (after 39 min). See more »

Quotes

Clarence Hilliard: Let's be different. Let's not hate anyone.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cockettes (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

World's Greatest Sinner
(uncredited)
Written by Frank Zappa
Performed by Baby Ray & The Ferns
(opening credits music)
See more »

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User Reviews

More a curio than a fully-fledged film
27 August 2011 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

You may not remember his name, but actor Timothy Carey has one of those lugubrious faces that once seen, you're not likely ever to forget. No actor in Hollywood had a visage like Timothy Carey. His career as an actor spanned nearly half a century. His first acting part was in 1951 his last role was in 1990. In all, he appeared in a mixture of shorts, feature films and television shows: 87 titles in all. In the late fifties, Timothy Carey decided to make his own film. He would write the screenplay, play the lead character and direct it himself. That film was "The World's Greatest Sinner" In it, Carey plays a disgruntled insurance salesman named Clarence Hilliard, who quits his job to go into politics. First he forms a rock band, which in turn becomes a religious cult; where everybody has to address him as God Hilliard. Eventually he manages to form a new Political Party. Considering "The World's Greatest Sinner" was made in 1962, it was quite daring for its time, especially when it came to the scenes of older women being seduced by the Clarence Hilliard character to get them to hand over their savings. (Six years later, Mel Brooks treads a similar path in his film "The Producers" by having one of his characters romance older women for cash).

"The World's Greatest Sinner" reminded me of another, similar film, Elia Kazan's "A Face In The Crowd." which came out in 1957. The Kazan film is about an itinerant drifter named Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes, who is plucked from an Arkansas jail, and ultimately rises to great fame and influence on national television. He soon discovers that fame has a price, and eventually his world come crashing around his ears. If Timothy Carey didn't go and see this film, he would have most certainly known about it. After all, both films explore the same theme, namely megalomania. "A Face In The Crowd" was distributed a major Hollywood studio. On the other hand, Timothy Carey distributed "The World's Greatest Sinner". He also funded the film entirely out of his own pocket, so it's no wonder the film took three years to finish. And, as the film never had an official release it quickly disappeared from sight. That said I found "The World's Greatest Sinner" extremely tiresome. The main problem being that Timothy Carey the director was at a loss on how to control Timothy Carey the actor who has a penchant for over acting. So we are subjected to Carey bellowing out his lines in scene after scene, or throwing back his head and laughing maniacally: "The World's Greatest Sinner" runs for just eighty-two minutes. The camera work is appalling, many of the shots are too dark, or poorly lit the film so it seems to run for twice that length. Additionally, the editing is so erratic it is hard to follow the plot. It's just a shame that a director of the calibre of, say, an Elia Kazan wasn't given the opportunity to direct "The World's Greatest Sinner" and turn what to me is at best a curiosity, into a film of some substance.


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