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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Elmer Gantry [Blu-ray]

 

(Richard Brooks, 1960)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Elmer Gantry Productions

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:26:42.794 

Disc Size: 24,766,525,959 bytes

Feature Size: 21,860,548,608 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.96 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 23rd, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1673 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1673 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• Shirley Jones Interview (12:18)

• Trailer (3:18)

 

Bitrate:

 

Description: Handsome. Opportunistic. Immoral. Traveling salesman Elmer Gantry (Burt Lancaster, Run Silent, Run Deep) is all this and more. So when he stumbles into a revival meeting and discovers that he can hustle money in a tent-show as easily as in a saloon, Gantry converts to evangelism. Joining forces with Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons, Spartacus), he delivers demon-bashing oratories that bring him fame and fortune. But when an old flame (Shirley Jones, TV s The Partridge Family) re-appears, Gantry is forced to confront demons of a more worldly order -- long-buried secrets that will make his saintly life a veritable Hell on Earth! Wonderfully directed by Richard Brooks (In Cold Blood) and based on the bestselling novel by Sinclair Lewis (Dodsworth). Winner of 3 Academy Awards® including Actor (Lancaster), Supporting Actress (Jones) and Adapted Screenplay (Brooks).

 

 

The Film:

Elmer Gantry (Burt Lancaster), a drunken, dishonest street preacher allegedly patterned on Billy Sunday, wrangles a job with the travelling tent ministry conducted by Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons). Thanks to Gantry's enthusiastic hellfire-and-brimstone sermons, Sister Sharon's operation rises to fame and fortune, enough so that Sharon realizes her dream of building her own enormous tabernacle. These ambitions are put in jeopardy when a prostitute (Oscar-winning Shirley Jones), a former minister's daughter who'd been deflowered by Gantry years earlier, lures Gantry into a compromising situation and has photographs taken. It took several years for any Hollywood studio to take a chance with Sinclair Lewis' novel, and when it finally did arrive on the screen, producer/director Richard Brooks was compelled to downplay some of the more "sacrilegious" passages in the original. Also appearing in Elmer Gantry are Arthur Kennedy as an H.L. Mencken-style atheistic journalist, and Edward Andrews as George Babbitt, a character borrowed from another Sinclair Lewis novel.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

A 'controversial' look at revivalist religion which, with the passing of the years, is unlikely to raise many eyebrows. That said, it's still an entertaining, intelligent movie, thanks largely to the magnetic presence of Lancaster. As the charming charlatan with the powerfully persuasive tongue who joins up with Sister Simmons' touring grass-roots evangelist circus during the depressed '20s, he has only to flash that silvery smile for us to believe that it's not the good will of the Good Lord he's after, but a rather more carnal acquaintance with the Bible-spouting glamour girl who employs him. Brooks' script and direction never really delve beneath the surface, leaving the relationship between faith, corruption, sex and money largely unexplored (one would have loved to see this filmed by Sirk or Minnelli); but with a host of fine performances, and a strong sense of period and place conveyed by John Alton's lush camerawork, there's still plenty to enjoy.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Much to the delight of his fans, Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry has arrived on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.  I suspect that dual-layering might have benefitted the image quality. The bitrate is quite modest for the 2.5 hour film, but it does look better than I've ever seen before. Colors are rich and true. It has a nice, consistent, thickness and contrast is acceptable. This Blu-ray does a decent, if not stellar, job of exporting the film's video in 1080P resolution.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino use a DTS-HD Master stereo track at 1673 kbps. The sermons and many religious hymns sound clean and deep - as does the score by André Previn. Notable are "I'm On My Way to Canaan Land", "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" and tha jazzy version of Sabine Baring-Gould's Words played on a trumpet. There are some effects (fire, crowds) with depth via the lossless. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Extras include an interview with, a much older, Shirley Jones for over a dozen minutes with some of her recollections of the film. There is also a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Brilliant. Elmer Gantry is such an impacting film - both memorable and dramatic in subsequent viewings.  The performances are so compelling. I was pleased with this Kino-Lorber Blu-ray. Its not perfect but still provided a valuable 1080P presentation. This is easily a film worth
multiple re-visitations. I watch it every few years - always attentive to the keen dialogue and Lancaster and Jones award winning performances. Certainly this is recommended!

Gary Tooze

September 19th, 2014

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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