IMDb > Marjoe (1972)
Marjoe
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Marjoe (1972) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.6/10   953 votes »
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Release Date:
July 1972 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
You Keep the Faith...Marjoe Keeps the Money
Plot:
Part documentary, part expose, this film follows one-time child evangelist Marjoe Gortner on the "church tent" Revivalist circuit... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A benchmark in American documentary See more (20 total) »

Cast

 

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
 
Thanks
Barbara Kopple .... thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Runtime:
88 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Company:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Marjoe's father, who appeared in one scene, was unaware of the true nature of the documentary.See more »
Quotes:
Marjoe:Glory je to Besus!See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
We've Come Too Far to Turn AroundSee more »

FAQ

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30 out of 30 people found the following review useful.
A benchmark in American documentary, 24 May 2007
Author: YesYesNo from United States

This is of the finest documentaries I've seen, and I've seen quite a few at festivals in recent years. Not only is Marjoe Gortner as intriguing as any of the great charismatics and eccentrics of documentary cinema, but the documentary technique is top notch. The cinematography in the church scenes is dynamic yet sharp and focused, and the editing keeps the momentum with a steady stream of insights and revelations, culminating in the more honest and confessional final act. It's a relatively long movie, and the goings-on inside the church take up a large proportion of the runtime, but they're shot so expertly, with brave intimacy and varying points of interest, that they never become unbearable. The music, while painfully dated, is totally authentic.

The strange interplay and connectivity between the mainstream youth counter-culture, exemplified by the film crew and Marjoe in his interviews, and the Pentecostal subculture provides most of the thematic interest. There's nothing novel about relating fervent religiosity to the kinds of drug use prevalent in the 70s, but Marjoe's embodiment of this cultural duality, and the ease with which he transitions from ecstatic evangelical to a paragon of counter-cultural values, suggests that these two polar inclinations in American culture are not as disparate as imagined. Marjoe would rather have been a money grabbing rock star like Alice Cooper, and might have been given a different upbringing, but this is as close as he can get. That he's manipulating the spiritual passions of his audience is a fact subordinate to the satisfaction of performing and connecting emotionally. And even as he spouts religious rhetoric that means nothing to him, and takes the money of those expecting miracles and salvation, is he not giving the people exactly what they want, performing the spontaneous and charismatic rites of Pentecostal Christianity in a manner that is skillful and respectful of the traditions and expectations of that faith?

I don't think I can find a single glaring flaw in the film, even as it approaches ethically questionable territory on account of its complicity in Marjoe's act and the necessity to mislead those who are being filmed or interviewed. Certainly, more interactivity with the Pentacostal churchgoers would have been welcome. One questions whether Marjoe is being completely honest in his interviews, but for someone for whom performance and chicanery are inseparable aspects of life, do the filmmakers really need to press the question? Even without a narrating voice, the point comes across with the utmost clarity.

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