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It is easy to see why Burt Lancaster won an oscar for his excellent portrayal of Elmer Gantry. Singer Patti Page in her first film role, with Burt Lancaster, in "Elmer Gantry", Opening title of "Elmer Gantry" (1960), directed by Richard Brooks, Richard Brooks directs Burt Lancaster and Shirley Jones in "Elmer Gantry", Jean Simmons & Lancaster: Italian movie poster for "Elmer Gantry", Shirely Jones (2nd from left) & Lancaster (far right), with Oscars, 1961, Lancaster as Elmer Gantry: "When I was a child, I understood as a child", Rosy Simas of Rosy Simas Danse is Haudenosaunee, Seneca, Heron Clan. WebHollywood legend Burt Lancaster nabbed a Best Actor Oscar as glad-handing, soul-redeeming charlatan Elmer Gantry, a huckster who spins his talent for preaching into a mtier behind the pulpit. Elmer Gantry subtitles. Some found it repugnant and accused Lewis of grossly distorting his subject matter. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were many evangelists, like Elmer and Sharon Falconer in the novel, who traveled around the country conducting revival campaigns for large audiences. Binch stopped gulping his fried pork chops and held out a flabby, white, holy hand.. One of the first scenes with Sister Sharon Falconer involves her asking for donations from these people. He goes to live with his niece and dies within two years. The two make a successful onstage pair, and their chemistry extends to romance. Fired from the Seminary, he is hired as a traveling salesman of farm implements. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. And he has involvements with several of his church secretaries. However, Lewis does not seem to have had such an intention at first; once again, half the novel is concerned with one theme and half with a related but different one. But occasionally Lewis tries to endow him with a soul, as in the incident of his conversion at Terwillinger College. Therefore, its best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publications requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html. These blossoming words, these organ-like phrases, these profound notions, had been rammed home till they stuck in his brain, ready for use. Jim observes his defeat from his bed, laid ill with a bug no doubt divinely-sent. Even Gantry wouldnt have been such a bad fellow if hed been, say, a salesman. Only a very curious moral outlook could have permitted the creator of such a monster as Elmer Gantry to say that his characters lack of a sense of decency would not have been objectionable if he had changed his profession . But a grand jury investigation found that McPherson had spent a pleasant month in Mexico with a married man from her church. For that matter, one year after Elmer Gantry, Burt Lancaster appeared in the same movie as William Shatner, Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). Besides the rise of world fundamentalism and revelations of sexual abuse by big-name evangelists and Catholic priests, Elmer Gantry calls up popular figures such as Sarah Palin. As Lewis so devastatingly wrote, Elmer got everything from the church and Sunday School, except, perhaps, any longing whatever for decency and kindness and reason. The implication is that those three qualities were not present in the Baptist church of Paris, Kansas. But though this satire is perhaps the best part of the book, revivalism is not the only target. 73738. You're all doomed to perdition! Anative of the midwestern United States, Sinclair Lewis (18851951) chronicled through novels, THE LITERARY WORK Sit down and take in everything this film is offering, you won't be disappointed. In 1926, Lewis refused the Pulitzer Prize for Arrowsmith, because he believed it would compromise his artistic independence. Were in the temple of the Lord! John K. Roth. I had boycotted it for years, thinking it was too anti-Christian to support with my money, either renting or buying it. Elmer Gantry sets out to do just that in the world of evangelical revivalists, and an examination of the complicated relationship between the congregations and the religious leaders of the film may help illuminate the popularity of many religious movements, even those that appear to be a farce from the outside. Ashley Daugherty is a senior majoring in Anthropology and Spanish. Not now! Elmer wants to marry her but she says she is too old for marriage (she is thirty-two, three or four years older than Elmer) and she must also remain free to devote herself to her missionary work. Many of my neighbors and friends see the furious posts on Facebook, with all the hysterical warnings about the imminent destruction of public education as we know it, and are honestly confused. Burt Lancaster in all his "scene chewing" glory. He marries a woman he does not love. As the years went on, however, compromises were reached, and these can be seen in the career of Elmer, who begins as a fundamentalist and winds up as the pastor of a large, urban church. He is coerced into becoming a minister because his family, his town, and his college are so tightly structured around the church. (film) Elmer Gantry is a 1960 film about a con man and a female evangelist selling religion to small town America. Elmer despises him. As the good Sister employs him as a Bible-spouting person to expand the God Will and along the way he gets considerable success . During his career, Gantry contributes to the downfall, physical injury, and even death of key people around him, including a sincere minister, Frank Shallard, who is plagued by doubt. And she does look sexy in a slip. On his return, Elmer meets J. Transforming the community and its residents is the main goal of Northside food system organizers, who are using food as a tool to aid in that transformation. | Evangelist Billy Sunday called Lewis "Satan's cohort". The target of his earthly desires is Beautiful Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons) a sincere, but fallible woman out to build a ministry. After she admits to Elmer that she loves to dance, she says, Oh, of course I roast dancing in my sermons, but I meanwhen its with people like us, that understand, its not like with worldly people, where it would lead to evil. It is not hard to see how she and Elmer are a perfect match. He sees her as a conquest. He wonders whether he might have become a great chemist, which would surely have been better (and more profitable) than year after year again of standing in the pulpit and knowing your congregation dont remember what youve said seven minutes after youve said it. From discontented dean, who never appears again, the narrative moves immediately to the aged parents of the deans wife. Still, her character of a betrayed woman who continues to care for Elmer illuminates the paradox of his power: he doesnt mean to hurt anyone, but he does. Their satisfaction comes from functioning healthily, from physical and mental exercise, whether it be playing tennis or tackling an astronomical problem. While this notion of religious rites on the tennis court is rather curious, Lewis seems nevertheless to acknowledge a religious impulse, even if he would eliminate God and organized churches. Like a priestess she takes him to the chapel, a shrine with hangings, a crucifix, statues of the Virgin, and heathen idols, including a naked Venus. Jim Lefferts is Elmers roommate and his only friend at Terwillinger College. He is immediately attracted to her and also sees her revival meetings as a way to make money. Elmer pulls the burning jacket off her, and beats out the flames. Driven by ambition to become a bishop, he is hugely successful, and is given bigger and bigger churches. 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. The famous evangelist Billy Sunday called Lewis Satans cohort.. Many of the people attending the revivals would then be working-class individuals. 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. They were intended to feed the American dream, but instead fashioned the nightmareout of books! Her maiden milk is proof of Gods goodness act supposedly converts tents full of adults, but one wonders if even Midwestern farmers without television (this is the 1920s) would find her compelling. Thus equipped, Elmer advances to conquer the world. Frank Shallard is a student at Mizpah Theological Seminary, but he doubts the literal truth of the Bible. The last date is today's Novels for Students. Did he come to bring peace or more war? One such incident (chapter 2, section 3) is when the pious but not very bright Eddie Fislinger is outwitted by Jim Leffertss atheist father for the amusement of Jim and Elmer. WebVoila! In his ever lustful sights is a voluptuous female preacher. REL 360: Popular Culture/Public Humanities, Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ, Humans and Nazis: Reevaluating the Conversation of. Religion was a force in politics, yes, but a force capable of bringing down buildings? ), Elmers friend Jim Lefferts, a freethinker, has a somewhat wider list than Elmer: an encyclopedia, Pickwick, Swinburne, Ingersoll, and Paine. I am really and truly sanctified! You're all sinners! Garrison One cleric suggested that Lewis should be imprisoned for five years, and there were also threats of physical violence against the author. Jones is too frothy, but when she appears halfway through, she adds bubbles to a long movie that was starting to go flat. 2 hr 26 min. Of course, turmoil closes in on them as their inherent instincts of love overpower their adherence to the Christian principles they attempt to profess. He was saturated with itthe sermons, hymns, Bible stories, funerals, weddings, Sunday schools. Although most entertaining when Gantry is actually preaching (mainly in the opening half of the film), the intelligent script moves on from it's basic premise (that Gantry is a charlatan) to explore wider questions of the nature of humanity and society. When a charismatic preacher comes to town for a revival meeting, he seeks out Gantry and tricks him into attending. Elmer, after all, is not an idealist; though he ventures forth, he does not do so in the name of chivalry; and, finally, he does not practice the transmuting powers of fancy. Lewis made the point that Protestantism has nurtured America in the same way it has nurtured Elmer. Definitely a film to see on the big screen. Yet at the fire, it is Sharon who is heroic. Is he successful? In the following essay excerpt, Dooley calls Elmer Gantry a picaresque novel that begins as a satire of revivalism.. Source: James Lundquist, Moralities for a New Time, in Sinclair Lewis, Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1973, pp. She is certainly not the saintly evangelist she presents herself to be, and she maintains a smug sense of superiority over the common folk she seeks to save. This short scene is written from Elmers point of view. The Lancastic! But what perhaps made Elmer Gantry seem like such an act of outrage to so many readers is that Lewis did not simply treat religion in relation to other aspects of American life; he saw it instead as the molder of basic attitudes, most of which were, in his opinion, bad. Playing the title character, Lancaster won his first and only Oscar, for Best Actor. He is a simple, decent, pious man who is loved by his congregation. In 1903, Lewis went to Yale University, where he served as editor of the Yale Literary Magazine. In order to conquer her, he must use his extensive repertoire of biblical quips, quotes and bawdy antidotes. All those who profess to be religious in the novel are shown as hypocrites or morons; the best we can expect, apparently, is a nominal profession of belief for the sake of convenience: the good shepherd is the one who sees that his lambs are fed with material food, not stale spiritual claptrap. Quarles has no time for vain arguments that lead nowhere! Quarles is hostile to the kind of free intellectual inquiry that the liberals advocate, and he relies instead on prayer and faith. Burt Lancaster plays the eponymous anti-hero as rogue of such charm that you almost want him to succeed; while the ambiguous character of his partner Sister Falconer (Jean Simmons), who doesn't seem to know herself whether is she a fellow-fraud or a genuine messenger of God, makes a perfect dramatic foil. Dooley, D. J., The Art of Sinclair Lewis, University of Nebraska Press, 1967, pp. As a boy, the Baptist church was all he knew. The speech is a roaring success. On May 25, 2016, St. Paul School Resource Officer Bill Kraus forcibly arrested then 19-year-old Darion Bell outside of St. Paul Central High School. Gantry befriends a famous criminal attorney, T. J. Rigg, who becomes his adviser and confidant. His flamboyant preaching style makes a big impression on the small town. In Bible stories, in the words of the great hymns, in the anecdotes which the various preachers, quoted, he had his only knowledge of literature. Lewis exercises his bitterness against the failures of the church by making the church itself accountable for Elmers being no better educated. Four men and two women crawled about a pillar, barking like dogs, barking the devil out of the tree.. T. J. Rigg is a famous criminal lawyer and a trustee of Wellspring Methodist Church in Zenith. Terwillinger College and Mizpah Theological Seminary are both fundamentalist institutions. British actress Jean Simmons as Sister Sharon, the evangelist Elmer falls for is similarly too airy. Later judgments have also been mixed. Ive made herby prayer and by having a right to be her!. Starring Shirley Jones Arthur Kennedy Burt Lancaster Patti Page Jean Simmons. I am above sin! , Sinclair Lewis and the Method of Half-Truths, in Society and Self in the Novel, Columbia University Press, 1956, pp. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. After her death, he joins the Methodist Church. The story of a womanizing con man and an evangelist selling religion all across America was an In a notable passage Lewis tells us sympathetically of the problems of the rebel, of the preacher or the writer who suffers from sensitivity and innocence: He was supposed to cure an affliction called vice. Complex, Fascinating, Relevant; A Must See, A Much Better Than Average Literary Adaption, A thought-provoking look at revivalist religion in which includes the magnetic presence of Burt Lancaster. The wife is full of complaints about the life she has had to lead, married to a preacher, criticized by the church women if they thought her clothes werent suitable, sick of having to pretend to be so good when we were just common folks all the time! Her tirade at her husband, who only wants to be allowed to go to sleep, includes the following passage: Oh, dear. I once dated (briefly) a guy who sold steel. He has an affair with his secretary, who then tries to blackmail him, and only escapes ruin because he has a clever lawyer. Lulu becomes devoted to Elmer but he gets bored with her. There, Gantry befriends the Methodist bishop and is appointed pastor of a church in Banjo Crossing. In A Letter on Religion published in 1932, Lewis declared: It is, I think, an error to believe that there is any need of religion to make life seem worth living. He said that he had known several young people who had been reared entirely without thought of churches or of formal theology, and they seemed happy. Sharon believes she is above sin and that she can do anything she wants to because she is Gods messenger. At Sparta, Elmer gains statewide fame for his sensational sermons denouncing drinking and other sins. Infuriating and erratic, but brilliantly creative, the Canadian-born British artist and writer Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) was an always, Elman, Ziggy (originally, Finkelman, Harry), Elman, Mischa (actually, Mikhail Saulovich), Elmira Business Institute: Narrative Description, https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/elmer-gantry, Lewis, Sinclair (7 February 1885 - 10 January 1951).

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