Bernard Smith

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Elmer Gantry Review


Excellent
Burt Lancaster shines as the titular Elmer Gantry, a revival preacher with a questionable past and uncertain motives, in the epic film that won Oscars for Lancaster, Shirley Jones (as a hooker from Gantry's past), and the script by Richard Brooks. Written with an assured bite, Gantry skewers "that old-time religion" with a dramatic wit rarely seen in this era. Never corny (though its modern-day analogues most surely are), the film was a huge success in its day, and is all but forgotten now. Highly recommended for fans of Lancaster or Jean Simmons, who plays the earnest young preacher who gets caught up in Gantry's web.
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