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Marjoe (1972) More at IMDbPro »

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Marjoe -- Part documentary, part expose, this film follows one-time child evangelist Marjoe Gortner on the "church tent" Revivalist circuit, commenting on the showmanship of Evangelism and "the religion business", prior to the start of "televangelism".


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Release Date:
7 March 1974 (Netherlands) See more »
You Keep the Faith...Marjoe Keeps the Money
Part documentary, part expose, this film follows one-time child evangelist Marjoe Gortner on the "church tent" Revivalist circuit... See more » | Add synopsis »
Won Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
"Would You Get Out Your Checkbooks Tonight" See more (21 total) »



Marjoe Gortner ... Marjoe

Sarah Kernochan ... Herself

Directed by
Sarah Kernochan 
Howard Smith 
Produced by
Sarah Kernochan .... producer
Max Palevsky .... executive producer
Howard Smith .... producer
Cinematography by
Ed Lynch 
David Myers 
Richard Pearce 
Thomas Reichman 
Michael Shea 
Kenneth Van Sickle 
Film Editing by
Lawrence Silk 
Sound Department
John Binder .... sound
L.A. Johnson .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert Grant .... assistant camera (los angeles)
Michael Klick .... assistant camera: Los Angeles
Ned Kopp .... assistant camera
Editorial Department
Jeffrey Friedman .... assistant editor
Music Department
Sarah Kernochan .... lyricist
Sarah Kernochan .... singer
Other crew
Jeanne Field .... production assistant
Barbara Kopple .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

88 min
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The film was not shown in most of the southern United States due to the distributor's fear of the outrage it would cause.See more »
Marjoe:Glory je to Besus!See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Serial Mom (1994)See more »
Thank God My Troubles Are OverSee more »


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24 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
"Would You Get Out Your Checkbooks Tonight", 16 September 2007
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas

Former child evangelist Marjoe Gortner lays it on the line, presumably, in this riveting true story of his life as a traveling Pentecostal preacher in the early 1970s, long before cable TV and the "electronic church". Gortner, a tall, charming, and charismatic guy talks to a documentary film crew of counterculture hippies about his techniques and tricks of the trade. "If you're going to get into big time religion, this is the game you gotta play ... you work it as a business ... The (preachers) who are successful ... they're just businessmen; they're like Madison Avenue PR men".

The camera follows Marjoe as he preaches in various settings, including an old fashioned big tent revival meeting. He shouts hallelujah a lot, prances back and forth in front of his prey, and spews out general gospel gibberish. And, of course, there's the inevitable request for ... "a love offering". At one meeting, he intones, earnestly: "Would you get out your checkbooks tonight; would some of you get out $5 or $10; bring what you would ... come on". After everyone has left, we see him sitting on his bed counting wads of cash.

The film's technical elements are fine, although there's a tendency to dwell too long in some settings. We get the idea; truly, we do.

To watch these swindlers is infuriating, in that their con is aimed at vulnerable people, those who are in varying conditions of physical and/or mental pain. Most of these victims are low-income, poorly educated folks who cannot afford to throw their money at flimflam artists. Accordingly, viewers must surely appreciate Marjoe's successful effort through this film to expose the motivations and manipulations of these "salesmen".

Of course, a performance is a performance whether it's aimed at true believers in some revival tent, or at an audience watching a film documentary. In "Marjoe", Marjoe puts on a good show. But is his message credible? I think events of the last 35 years have shown that, for the most part, the answer is yes ... his message is credible.

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