I’m staying up late ~ or is it early? ~ to watch TCM‘s airing of Elmer Gantry with a few of my gal pals, Jaynie and A Slip Of A Girl. Even though miles separate us from passing the popcorn, we meet in chat and squeal and gush before hand and then sneak to the IM window when the film’s on to make comments to one another. it’s almost like having a regular old girlie movie night. (If you don’t do this with your friends, you’re missing out!)
Along with this post’s title, one of my favorite quotes from this film is when says, “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.” Classic! Such a classic, this bit is still used by today’s moralists. *snort* They would do well to watch this film and consider their beliefs, their own character.
One of my favorite scenes in Elmer Gantry is this one, below, with Shirley Jones. Jones would win an Oscar for playing Lulu Bains, the prostitute with the heart of gold, complicated by vengeance, tainted with pain. In this scene, Lulu discovers that the man who loved her and left her ~ left her, disowned and condemned by her family, the the streets she’ll walk ~ has come to town as a “lay preacher”. As Lulu sits, playing with her silk stocking, while her sex worker sisters read aloud of the revival hitting the town, she masks her pain telling her story in a risque pun-laden laugh-fest. But the laughter is too loud, the giggles too brittle… Her fellow hookers may buy what she’s selling, but the audience hearing the story of how Lulu fell would be wise to feel the heat of her pain.
If you haven’t seen this classic film, you really should. Not just for Jones appearing as the sexy sinful lady Lulu is, but for the cautionary tales (for there are several) of sin, religion, redemption, and honor.