Richard Brooks directs Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons and Shirley Jones in this dramatic adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ controversial novel about a corrupt preacher and a zealous revival star.
Natalie has just finished reading the novel and according to her the full narrative has been condensed and contracted to just the middle hundred or so pages. This contraction makes for a tight movie experience but it does also shift the satirical character portrait of the eponymous grifter into more of a generous two-hander. Jean Simmons’ Sister Sharon Falconer is an equally juicy and slippery character here. Towards the end she has the finest scene where she attempts a miracle healing and even I, an atheist hyper-aware I was watching a work of fiction, had a crisis of faith over whether she could pull it off. Now that’s great storytelling.
Perfect Double Bill: The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)
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We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/