Thursday, May 23, 2013
An Oscar-winning performance from Lancaster as the eponymous bible-thumping con artist in Richard Brooks’ visually ravishing (it was shot by the great John Alton) and dynamic adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ novel. Lancaster’s fiery evangelist burns with the sheer physical joy of his own bigger-than-life charisma, his own gift for taking people in—he seems to almost believe his own act. With Jean Simmons as the genuine article, a real believer, and Shirley Jones in the film’s other Oscar-winning performance as a minister’s daughter gone bad.
Images courtesy of UNITED ARTISTS / THE KOBAL COLLECTION