Elmer Gantry is a charming, fast-talking con, working the road as a traveling salesman in the 1920s. Burt Lancaster stars as the elusive Gantry in this charismatic adaptation of Sinclair Lewis's 1927 novel. When Gantry runs across a group of traveling evangelists, he charms their saintly leader, Sister Susan Falconer (Jean Simmons), and becomes her partner, preaching fire and brimstone in the packed revival tents of the hardened Midwest. Gantry's robust style and Falconer's Joan of Arc-like spirit skyrocket the two minstrels to fame and fortune as they travel with their flock waging war on sinners and speakeasies--until they preach in a big city and catch the eye of a tough prostitute (Shirley Jones) who knows that Elmer is not quite as holy as he appears. This biting portrait of the business of religion was highly innovative at the time of its release, casting a slightly tarnished light on the hustle and theatrics of traveling ministries, while analyzing the true nature of faith and redemption. Lancaster's performance as the salesman turned preacher is dynamic and highly charismatic, full of energy and robust flair.
Academy Awards Best Adapted Screenplay 1960 Richard Brooks Oscar-winning American director/screenwriter, CAT ON A HOT T
Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress 1960 Shirley Jones Oscar winning actress, THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY
Academy Awards Best Actor 1960 Burt Lancaster Oscar-winning actor, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, ELMER GANTRY