Watch Elmer Gantry
- 2 hr 26 min
Elmer Gantry is a 1960 drama film directed by Richard Brooks based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis. The film stars Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry, a fiery and ambitious salesman who becomes a successful, charismatic evangelist. Jean Simmons plays Sister Sharon Falconer, a young and beautiful revivalist preacher who has a sincere belief in her religious mission. Arthur Kennedy portrays Jim Lefferts, a cynical and hard-boiled journalist who befriends Gantry and exposes his hypocrisy. The film follows the rise of Elmer Gantry, a salesman who makes his living selling anything he can to the highest bidder. He meets Sister Sharon Falconer, and impressed by her passion and beauty, decides to join her ministry. Though he is not a devout Christian, Gantry becomes a powerful and convincing evangelist, drawing huge crowds and gaining fame and fortune. Sister Sharon quickly recognizes Gantry's charisma and persuasiveness and invites him to join her in her religious crusade. Gantry proves to be a natural showman and excels at preaching to the masses, combining charismatic speeches with theatrics to win over the crowds. Sister Sharon is eventually swept off her feet and falls in love with Gantry, despite his cynical attitude towards the religious doctrines they preach. As Gantry's popularity continues to grow, Jim Lefferts, a cynical journalist who has been covering the duo's crusade, uncovers Gantry's past and reveals his fraudulent and immoral behavior. This leads to a public scandal, and Gantry's reputation is tarnished. Sister Sharon is heartbroken and disillusioned, realizing that her faith has been misplaced in Gantry. The film explores themes of corruption, hypocrisy, and the power of persuasion. The characters are complex and nuanced, with each of them struggling to reconcile their beliefs with their own personal flaws and desires. The film also delves into the tension between religion and the media, as Lefferts seeks to expose Gantry's wrongdoing and the religious community struggles to protect their own. The acting in the film is superb, with Lancaster delivering a powerful performance as Gantry. He is charismatic, charming, and manipulative, bringing nuance to his portrayal of a complex character. Simmons is also excellent as Sister Sharon, conveying both her passionate devotion to her faith and her heartbreak when she realizes that her idol is a fake. The chemistry between the two actors is palpable, adding depth to their characters' relationship. Overall, Elmer Gantry is a compelling drama that explores the underbelly of the religious revival industry. It is a character-driven film that delves into the complexities of human nature, exposing the flaws and hypocrisies of those who claim moral superiority. It challenges the audience to question the true motives and beliefs of those in positions of power, and to remain vigilant against those who seek to manipulate them for their own gain.