“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Oldest Obsession…

Posted on November 21, 2017 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`A fast-talkin’ scoundrel conveys his wry message with confident revivalist overtones. His recitation on morality is embraced as he traverses small town America, where religion is celebrated in every-day life.  He achieves the pinnacle of his chosen profession only to be taken down in a scandalous collapse by his sordid past. Yet, he shall survive to fight another day. I’m not referring to today’s cultural and political climate that is fittingly condemning indiscretions based on a good-ole boys nature of power. I instead reference the 1960 classic, Elmer Gantry.

“`The film is based on a satirical novel written by Sinclair Lewis in 1926 that presents aspects of religious activity in middle-America in fundamentalist and evangelist circles, and the nature of the 1920s public at-large. The yarn’s anti-hero is initially attracted by liquor, easy bankrolls, and libertine women. After various forays into evangelism, he becomes a successful Methodist minister despite his behavioral hypocrisy and serial sexual escapades.

“`On publication in 1927, Elmer Gantry created a public furor. The book was banned in Boston, and other towns, and denounced from pulpits across the United States.  A cleric suggested that Lewis should be imprisoned for five years, and there were also threats of physical violence against the writer. Evangelist Billy Sunday called Lewis: Satan’s cohort.

“`This explosive movie earned Burt Lancaster and Shirley Jones well-deserved Academy Awards. The film also co-starred Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy, Dean Jagger, and Patti Page.  The character of Sharon Falconer was based on the career of Canadian-born, radio evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who formed the Pentecostal Christian denomination known as International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in 1927.

“`The female characters in this tale are clearly victimized, and react at the pleasure of the male protagonist. The fire-and-brimstone overtones add to Elmer’s ferocity in his quest for providing wholesale deliverance for an exacting price; his sordid behavior, notwithstanding.

The movie ends in an ironic twist, with the sudden, if convenient, repentance of Gantry. Quoting 1 Corinthians 13:11 in an impromptu revival, he is circumspect as he moves on. Incidentally, this production begs for a screenplay sequel that was never penned.

“`Today’s toxic nationalism is rooted from analysis in the cinema of the 1960s; and candid writings of insightful scribes of the 1920s, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, H.G. Wells, and of course, Sinclair Lewis. Remember this, as 2017 professional careers are suddenly destroyed; women are magnificently empowered; and as you vote for candidates campaigning for entrance into the nation’s body-politic. Vetting is recommended.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 at 5:35 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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