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Give Me That Old Time Religion


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There have been plenty of decent pictures about priests, nuns, preachers and evangelists.  Perhaps this thread could discuss some of them.

Here is a new one with the same title as the 2000 documentary:

Holy innocent - or did she do a deal with the Devil? New film examines life of televangelist's wife Tammy Bakker who revelled in excess - until her husband was brought down by a sex and fraud scandal 

Film examines life of televangelist's wife who revelled in excess - until husband was

During their glory days serving the Lord back in the 1980s, America's most popular 'televangelists' Jim and Tammy Bakker (left) didn't let old-fashioned Christian virtues like modesty and thrift get in their way. Ultimately, however, it was the Bakkers' sins of excess that would come to define them as their empire came crashing down in a frenzy of headlines about sex, drugs and fraud. Jim Bakker was first defrocked for paying off a church secretary (right, Jessica Hahn) who claimed he'd raped her and for being exposed as a closet bisexual, and then jailed for fraud. How much did Tammy, who divorced Jim while he was in prison, and who died of colon cancer aged 65 in 2007, really know about what was going on? Surely there was more to her than the TV image as the earnest, sweet-natured but ultimately fluffy and shallow singer and presenter - perpetually weeping tears of Christian compassion but so vain she had her eyebrows, eyeliner and lipliner tattooed on her face? Now Hollywood is tackling that question in The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, a film with Jessica Chastain as Tammy (inset) and Anglo-American actor Andrew Garfield as Jim.

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Of all the things I remember hearing about JIM BAKKER -- him being a closet bi-sexual is one I hadn't heard.  He's still got a program, I think, on some channel or other.  I wonder if he's learned any lessons from his misdeeds?  Some people learn from their mistakes (lust, greed, et cetera) while others say they do but actually don't.  Anyway, Jimbo's gotta be over 80 by now.  

JOEL OSTEEN has a pretty good 'thing' going at present.  He ain't hurtin' for 💰💰💰 .   I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to have what would be called "the finer things in life" . . . but I will say that Joel has acquired a large number of these good things. 

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4 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

There have been plenty of decent pictures about priests, nuns, preachers and evangelists.  Perhaps this thread could discuss some of them.

I think my favorite of this type of film is The Apostle (1997) with Robert Duvall, who also wrote and directed it. 

Duvall gives his greatest performance here. He plays a preacher who commits an act of violence and then goes on the run. He finds some redemption in a small bayou town. I liked the sympathetic treatment of Southern religious people for a change.

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Boy, that's a trio I haven't thought about for a long time. I remember Jim losing it at his trial and crawling under a desk. They led him out of the courtroom in a strait jacket. As he was coming down the steps, he was blubbering "Why are you doing this to me?"

Why? Jesus can give you the answer, Jim, but first, we'll need your credit card number.

"You have reached the Pearly Gates Customer Care Center. Please listen carefully, as our menu options have changed. Para espanol, marque ocho..."

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1 hour ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I think my favorite of this type of film is The Apostle (1997) with Robert Duvall, who also wrote and directed it. 

Duvall gives his greatest performance here. He plays a preacher who commits an act of violence and then goes on the run. He finds some redemption in a small bayou town. I liked the sympathetic treatment of Southern religious people for a change.

I've never seen The Apostle but have wanted to.  Duvall broke the first rule of filmmaking when he made this film- he used his own money.  Luckily it worked out for him.

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2 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I think my favorite of this type of film is The Apostle (1997) with Robert Duvall, who also wrote and directed it. 

Duvall gives his greatest performance here. He plays a preacher who commits an act of violence and then goes on the run. He finds some redemption in a small bayou town. I liked the sympathetic treatment of Southern religious people for a change.

Been a while, but is that the one that ends with Duvall's character preaching the gospel while  chopping weeds in a chain gang?  Loved that flick too.

And we can't discuss movies about Religion without a mention of ELMER GANTRY,  can we?   I think it covers a lot of  "soiled evangelists" ground.

Sepiatone

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2 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

Been a while, but is that the one that ends with Duvall's character preaching the gospel while  chopping weeds in a chain gang?

Yes, that's it. that was the final scene as the end credits roll.

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One Man's Way with Don Murray as Norman Vincent Peale.

And Murray again as The Hoodlum Priest.

And probably my favorite film about a cleric - ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN with Fredric March and Martha Scott. A true story beautifully written, played and scored (Steiner).

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2 hours ago, brianNH said:

I think God put Burt Lancaster on earth for the sole purpose of playing Elmer Gantry.

elmergantry32.jpg

Burt Lancaster's Elmer Gantry is number three on my list of Best All Time Screen Performances by an Actor.

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"Elmer Gantry" and "The Apostle," are tow of my favorite films glad to see others appreciate them.

2 hours ago, brianNH said:

I think God put Burt Lancaster on earth for the sole purpose of playing Elmer Gantry.

Oh yes, the energy he puts into the roll!  I love jean Simmons in this too, she does a great job of showing that some big time evangelists are actually coming from a sincere place.

I really like the Tammy Faye documentary, I've always found her fascinating but I'm still not sure what I think of her.

An old one about religion that not too many people have seen is, "Susan and God."  I love this thing for all sorts of reasons.  Joan Crawford plays a shallow socialite who runs into an evangelist while travelling and comes back to her friends full of herself and ready to reform them all.  There's a good message in the film about first checking the log in your own eye, but I also love a lot of random things about this: 

The film opens with an entire herd of Dachshunds running across a tennis court.  The house they're all staying in has the loudest print sofas ever made, sitting in front of a giant cocktail table loaded with more booze bottles than all the amazing liquor cabinets in all these old films put together.  Joan's final scene is done in a black dress decorated with about twenty pieces of white rope,  It looks like maybe the Dachshunds dragged it in from that tennis court.

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Angel Baby (1961) fits the category, with George Hamilton and Mercedes McCambridge as a married couple (!!!) with an itinerant ministry who groom a former mute (Salome Jens), who goes on to front for a "snake oil" salesman on the revival circuit. It's a behind-the-scenes look at all the hokum, also featuring Burt Reynolds and Joan Blondell. It's pretty freaky, so I'm not sure it's exactly what you're  looking for. 

 

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7 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I think my favorite of this type of film is The Apostle (1997) with Robert Duvall, who also wrote and directed it. 

Duvall gives his greatest performance here. He plays a preacher who commits an act of violence and then goes on the run. He finds some redemption in a small bayou town. I liked the sympathetic treatment of Southern religious people for a change.

Duvall turns in a great performance in here, he's so completely believable. 

He should have taken home his second Oscar that year. 

Even though he wasn't a preacher, INHERIT THE WIND'S Matthew Harrison Brady (Fredric March) could certainly give a sermon among the best of them. 

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Wise Blood (1979) is a favorite film of this type. I'm of the opinion that John Huston did his best work late in his career, reaching his apotheosis with his last film, The Dead. Huston has a supporting role in Wise Blood, as the fire-and-brimstone preacher grandfather of the main character, Hazel Motes, played by Brad Dourif, who wants to start "A Church of Truth Without Jesus Christ Crucified." There's also a sidewalk preacher, played by Harry Dean Stanton.

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1 hour ago, Bogie56 said:

elmergantry32.jpg

Burt Lancaster's Elmer Gantry is number three on my list of Best All Time Screen Performances by an Actor.

When you compare Lancaster's Gantry to today's best actor ROLES (not the actors, but the actual roles) you would be hard pressed to find a performance that even comes close in terms of:

1. screen time

2. dialog

3. emotional extremes

Today, it seems a best actor winner is subdued, "nuanced", complicated, understated, tortured by inner demons and "controlled".

Lancaster's Oscar winning role was passionate, right there in front of you, warts and all...every emotion...everything exposed. Much more vulnerable and extreme. An actor had to leave it all out there. There may be other actors who can play ELMER GANTRY...but they just don't make roles like ELMER GANTRY anymore. 

I'm trying to think of recent Best Actor Oscar winners  that could fall into the ELMER GANTRY category.  Rami Malek? DiCaprio? Hopkins? Phoenix? Oldman? Affleck? Redmayne? McConaughey? 

All fine actors....but were any of their roles and performances even close to Lancasters? Could you see any of them playing ELMER GANTRY? 

Hollywood ain't what it used to be. 

 

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220px-Way_Back_home_film_poster_1931_fil

Way Back Home (1931): A preacher in a small New England community protects a vulnerable boy from his dysfunctional father, and shames the town out of its prejudice against the child of a previous generation's scandal. I really like how religion is shown as a force for forgiveness and community. Bonus: A young Bette Davis in a supporting role.

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I'm an agnostic, but everyone else in my family is super hardcore Protestant Christian. I've often thought of assembling a list of movies for my brother and his wife to watch that feature ministers I admire or ministers/priests taking activist roles. I love Karl Malden in On the Waterfront. If you can stomach it, the priests in The Exorcist, one of them played by the great Max Von Sydow, go about their jobs very well.  I love the scene in One Foot in Heaven where Frederic March watches a movie for the first time and finds some profound connection with the secular world known by his flock. There are lots of movies with more morally challenged preachers that I probably wouldn't recommend for my brother.

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