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Elmer Gantry (1960)

Approved | | Drama | July 1960 (USA)
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3:13 | Trailer

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A fast-talking traveling salesman with a charming, loquacious manner convinces a sincere evangelist that he can be an effective preacher for her cause.

Director:

Richard Brooks

Writers:

Richard Brooks (screenplay), Sinclair Lewis (from the novel by)
Reviews
Won 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Elmer Gantry
Jean Simmons ... Sister Sharon Falconer
Arthur Kennedy ... Jim Lefferts
Dean Jagger ... William L. Morgan
Shirley Jones ... Lulu Bains
Patti Page ... Sister Rachel
Edward Andrews ... George F. Babbitt (as Ed Andrews)
John McIntire ... Rev. John Pengilly
Hugh Marlowe ... Rev. Philip Garrison
Joe Maross ... Pete
Philip Ober ... Rev. Planck
Barry Kelley ... Police Capt. Holt
Wendell Holmes Wendell Holmes ... Rev. Ulrich
Dayton Lummis Dayton Lummis ... Eddington
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Tens of thousands of believers shouted his praises...Three women damned his soul! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

July 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Elmer Gantry - Gott ist im Geschäft See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,336,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Sound)

Color:

Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Holden lobbied for the lead role. See more »

Goofs

The first time we see Lulu, she leans on the back of a chair, a newspaper in her hand, and her right shoulder strap has fallen down. In the next shot her left shoulder strap is down instead. See more »

Quotes

Lady in red on Christmas Eve: That's the trouble with this stinking world. Nobody loves nobody.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Featured in Film Review: Burt Lancaster (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm On My Way to Canaan Land
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Mahalia Jackson
Sung by Patti Page and the audience at a revival meeting
Reprised by her at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Much Better Than Average Literary Adaption
20 March 2005 | by MOscarbradleySee all my reviews

For some reason Richard Brooks seemed to think of himself as the man best suited to turning great novels and plays into films, but if the results were at best entertaining ("The Brothers Karamazov", "Cat on a hot tin roof") they tended to fall far short of the originals. If "Elmer Gantry" worked better than most was largely due to Brooks ability to tell a rattling good yarn at a cracking pace and to the performances of a superb cast.

Burt Lancaster seemed born to play the role of the lustful traveling salesman whose desire for the Aimee Semple McPhearson-like Sister Sharon turns him into a charismatic preacher, (his performance here is a virtual reprise of his performance as Starbuck in "The Rainmaker" a few years earlier). As Sharon, Jean Simmons gives a luminous performance, all fragility and repressed sexuality and singer Shirley Jones is a revelation as a trampy prostitute; (both she and Lancaster were rewarded with Oscars). Not great then, but several cuts above what it might have been.


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