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 Bible knowledge to become an indispensable part of Sister Sharon's roadshow, but his past soon 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
In an effort to appease the Hays Code, a number of changes were made to omit controversial aspects of the book. In the original novel, Gantry was an ordained minister, but since the Code was against negative portrayals of priests, this element was entirety omitted. See more »
Set in 1927, when Elmer is on railway tracks after jumping from a moving train, a 1950s Ford can be seen in the distance. See more »
Besides, I'm for a free press, for free enterprise... and for whatever the hell the other freedoms are!
See more »
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 »
Jesus was a simple virtuous teacher, . . . but I have my doubts "
From the exceptionally talented pen of noted author Sinclair Lewis comes this entertaining story of a fast-talking, yarn-spinning vacuum salesman with the natural gift of persuasion. In his ever lustful sights is a voluptuous female preacher. In order to conquer her, he must use his extensive repertoire of biblical quips, quotes and bawdy antidotes. Within the sphere of a traveling troupe of bible beating, evangelicals on a religious crusade, the author's hero, one Elmer Gantry (supurbly played by Oscar wining Burt Lancaster) is as energetic as his tales. Although it's difficult to know if Gantry's spiritual motivation is genuine or merely a ploy, throughout the film, one is kept guessing. The target of his earthly desires is Beautiful Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons) a sincere, but fallible woman out to build a ministry. A serious obstacle to her goal is Gantry, but more so is the cautionary and caustic pen of Jim Lefferts (Arthur Kennedy), a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who questions the personal and financial motives of her entourage. Her main supporter is worldly William Morgan (Dean Jagger) who believes in Falconer, and sees Gantry and Lefferts for the opportunistic impediments they are. The film is a triumph for Lancaster and Kennedy and for all those who wish to visit a confusing period of Americanna, when the word of God was infected by preachers, pushers and spiritual leeches. ****
22 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this