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This is a movie that I avoided seeing for a long time---I thought I would not like it at all--- but when I finally saw it I was very pleasantly surprised. Who won the Best Actress Oscar that year instead of Jean Simmons? I thought she was fantastic as Sister Sharon.

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I hope the movie inspires people to read Sinclair Lewis's novel.

 

Now, about Shirley Jones's character:

 

====================SPOILER ALERT=====================

 

In the movie she becomes a prostitute. In the book she suffered a worse fate: she got married.

 

Really. To get out of marrying her, Gantry tricked a simple young farmer into a compromising position with her (no more than a passionate kiss, actually), then summoned her outraged father to witness it. A shotgun wedding quickly ensued.

 

I suppose it was felt that her being a prostitute would play better on the screen.

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** Spolier Alert **

 

Based on what you related from the book: Is that after she helped to frame Gantry or before?

 

If before, how does she help frame him if she wasn't a prostitute? Just as a married women having an affair?

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I don't recall that happening in the novel. In what chapter does she frame him?

 

I remember that he framed her.

 

In the novel it is Elmer Gantry's secretary Hettie Dowler who tries to frame him not Lulu Baines.In the novel after Sister Sharon dies Elmer eventually converts to a more mainstream religion and becomes a successful pastor. He also marries and has two children. He has an affair with his secretary Hettie, who arranges for her husband to catch her with Gantry so the husband can blackmail him. Ultimately the blackmail scheme falls apart when the husband's lawyer gets drunk and blabs the Dowlers' plan to a reporter. Ultimately Hettie is forced to sign a confession about the plot to extort money from Gantry and even states that there were no romantic relations between herself and Gantry (even though they actually were lovers),

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OK, I'll check that and refresh my memory.

 

Update:

====================SPOILER ALERT====================

 

In Chapter XXV Lulu, now married, reappears in the novel, and she and Gantry almost immediately start an adulterous affair. (Gantry doesn't have to seduce her; it's very much mutually consenting.)

 

In Chapter XXXI Gantry meets Hettie and dumps Lulu, who lets herself go and starts drinking; we see no more of her after that.

 

The novel ends with the events that involve Hettie, which are just as you described them.

 

Edited by: faceinthecrowd on Nov 15, 2013 6:23 AM

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Thanks to HoldenIsHere and you for explaining that.

 

When I asked the question of when did Lulu frame Gantry, I just assume that she did as related in the movie (since I haven't read the book).

 

So it looks like there were a lot more changes between the book and the movie as it relates to Lulu based on what HoldenIsHere said (and I would never doubt Holden!).

 

One good thing about having Lulu do the frame; That scene with Shirley Jones!

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I agree that the scene with Shirley Jones was memorable. I can picture the studio suits discussing how to adapt the novel, saying, "Well, the way the book portrays Lulu is boring; let's have her become a prostitute; then we can have Shirley Jones in a slinky dress using one of her long legs to kick the money out of Burt's hand."

 

It was a nice image. My only objection is that it wasn't in the book. A lot of changes are often made when adapting a book to film, but there seem to be more than the usual number in ELMER GANTRY. I've read the book at least three or four times, so I'm very aware of the differences....Which gives me an idea for a thread, after this one has run its course.

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The movie focused on the middle part of the novel, not coverring Elmer Gantry's days in college and his earlier attempts at preaching or the events after Sister Sharon's death with Gantry ultimately becoming a successful mainstream pastor.

 

I think the movie producers feared offending audience members at the time by depicting the corruption of mainstream religious leaders. Showing the corruption of "tent preachers" was less likely to offend the general audience.

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> I've read the book at least three or four times, so I'm very aware of the differences....Which gives me an idea for a thread, after this one has run its course.

 

I'm not sure how far over it is, but I had a thread similar in vien. I think I called it "Movies that were better than the book". In it, I listed movies I thought were better than the books they were adapted from. Not ALL movies made from books do an injustice.

 

Sepiatone

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Agreed. Actually, I'm surprised that the book was filmed at all.

 

And I'm even more surprised that the novel, which took shots at mainstream organized religion as well as at tent preachers, was the number one bestseller in 1927. (The fact that it was banned in Boston probably didn't hurt.)

 

Edited by: faceinthecrowd on Nov 16, 2013 1:55 PM

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That sounds like a good idea for a thread. Where is it? I'm going to start thinking of candidates now -- but ELMER GANTRY isn't one of them.

And -- here I'm sure I'll get a lot of flak -- neither, IMO, is FROM HERE TO ETERNITY or GWTW. (They're good movies, but I don't think they do full justice to the novels they're based on. But that's a subject for the other thread.)

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I'm interested in why you feel the movie GWTW doesn't do justice to the book. There is a thread here (Pray this doesn't happen,,,"), related to GWTW (you could help it get back on track to the movie).

 

While I find some major faults in the movie I was told these were just reflections of the book. The movie is over 3 hours. Often a movie is critized because it skips over key parts of a book but this is one very long movie (of course the book it very long too).

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I'll check the thread you mentioned. Briefly, it's not that GWTW is not an

excellent movie, but that so much of what it's praised for -- the characters, the plot, the dialogue -- comes from the book, of which, to be sure, it's a faithful film version. And the casting is excellent (although I'll always maintain that Bette Davis would have been a better Scarlett), as is the music. And there are scenes that the film did better than any book could: the burning of Atlanta, the crane shot of the wounded soldiers lying on the ground, and, when Scarlett says, "As God is my witness..." the blood red sky behind her.

 

Reading the above, I can see that I've almost undermined my own case;

nevertheless, I don't consider it as great a movie as many people do. A minority opinion, no doubt.

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