ELMER GANTRY (1960) C widescreen 146m dir: Richard Brooks

w/Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy, Shirley Jones, Dean Jagger, Patti Page, Edward Andrews, John McIntire, Joe Maross, Everett Glass

From The Movie Guide: "Lancaster pulls out all the stops in one of his most memorable roles as the lustful, ambitious charlatan of Sinclair Lewis's powerful novel. Elmer Gantry (Lancaster) first appears on the screen, roaring drunk, trying to mooch drinks while selling his own distinctive take on scripture with his remarkable gift of gab. He encounters evangelist Sister Sharon Falconer (Simmons) --- a role no doubt intended by Lewis to suggest Aimee Semple McPherson. Gantry appeals to her vanity and joins her entourage. ...

"Writer-director Brooks made a few revisions in the novel's story. Gantry is no longer the ordained minister fallen from grace as depicted in the novel but now a traveling salesman for the Lord. Kennedy as Jim Lefferts, his empathetic friend, is transformed from another seminary dropout in the novel into a cynical, savvy newsman in the H.L. Mencken tradition. Nonetheless the integrity of the characterizations is maintained in a script that is both literate and ironic. Brooks later sarcastically commented that 'ELMER GANTRY is the story of a man who wants what everyone is supposed to want --- money, sex, and religion. He's the all-American boy.'"

ELMER GANTRY won three Oscars: Best Actor (Lancaster), Supporting Actress (Jones), and Adapted Screenplay (Brooks). It was also nominated for Best Picture and Score (Andre Previn).