Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week

Posted By on Wed, May 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Elmer Gantry Burt Lancaster Richard Brooks
Elmer Gantry (1960)
Directed by Richard Brooks
“Elmer Gantry was drunk. He was eloquently drunk, lovingly and pugnaciously drunk.” From these words, shown on a book page onscreen, the revivalist preacher played by Burt Lancaster bursts to life. Lancaster won an Oscar for his role in this loose adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’s novel as a salesman-turned-evangelist seeking the love of a true believer (played by prim Jean Simmons) while fleeing his sinful past (represented in the flesh by alluring fellow Oscar-winner Shirley Jones). Gantry pulls tricks for attention within his holy tent, whether presenting a monkey or dirty playing cards or even somersaulting. Lancaster—an atheist who had previously worked as both a salesman and a circus acrobat—plays Gantry as a man selling God’s word second and his own first. Aaron Cutler (May 23 at Lincoln Center, part of its Burt Lancaster series)

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