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"I have here in my pocket - and thank heaven you can't see them - lewd, dirty, obscene, and I'm ashamed to say this: French postcards. They were sold to me in front of your own innocent high school by a man with a black beard... a foreigner."—Elmer Gantry.
A 1926 novel by Sinclair Lewis (written in 1926, first published in 1927), Elmer Gantry was brought to the screen by Director and Writer Richard Brooks in 1960. The title role was played by Burt Lancaster, who won an Oscar along with co-star Shirley Jones and Brooks' screenplay.
Elmer Gantry was once a college athlete who decided to go into the legal profession. He ditches the legal profession and becomes a traveling salesman. During his travels, he "decides" his true calling is in the ministry and becomes a preacher. However, his actions do much more harm than good.
This and its adaptations feature examples of:
- Corrupt Church
- Dry Crusader: Gantry pretends to be this publicly.
- Sinister Minister: Although one who is slick and self-deluded.
- Snake Oil Salesman