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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 474 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 13 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
Edit

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

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

June 1962 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs

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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

Featured in TCM Underground: The World's Greatest Sinner (2008) 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

 
A Stunning Wild Masterpiece Rarely Seen
28 July 2000 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Recently I had the privilege of viewing a poor quality bootleg videotape of this film. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

For starters, I'm not one to typically enjoy cult classics or films that are in the "so-bad-they-are-good category." My initial attraction to this film was based on one thing - Timothy Carey.

I first learned of Timothy Carey when I purchased a Stanley Kubrick DVD of "The Killing". Carey has a small but important role in this film, and the minute he first appeared on screen I knew there was something special about this guy. There was a magnetic bizarreness to him that simply transcended the role. The character he played didn't have to be creepy, but Carey _was_ creepy. The weird way he looked with his eyes almost always at half mast, the way he spoke with his peculiar voice and heavy New York accent, and his unconventional looks (like a bizarro version of John Turturro) all worked together to really pique my curiosity about him.

Well, onto the Internet I went. I found out more about him. He made a living generally playing seedy characters in supporting roles in all movies he appeared in, except for one. "The World's Greatest Sinner" would be not only his sole staring role, but also the only movie he wrote, produced, and directed. And never released.

Once I got a chance to watch the bootleg, I could see why it never received a proper release in its day.

Carey plays an insurance salesman that is seemingly depressed and bored with his job and life and decides to change. He gets inspired by rock-n-roll, becomes a rock star of sorts, a preacher, a politician, and finally sells himself as God to his cult of followers.

This movie has some pretty dark humor, at least one shocking scene (even by today's standards, never mind 1962), and takes some potshots at organized religion.

Maybe the thing that struck my the most about this movie is it's vitality. It feels fresh, which is so different than how many older movies hold up. This is because this film was and continues to be so far ahead of its time.

If you are a fan of cult movies, I urge you to track this film down. If you are a fan of offbeat actors, ala Dennis Hopper, Crispin Glover, etc., I urge you to track this film down.

It certainly is a sin that this wonderful movie is not available through normal channels.


41 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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