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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Elmer Gantry [Blu-ray]


(Richard Brooks, 1960)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Elmer Gantry Productions

Video: Kino Lorber / Wild Side (FR)



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

Runtime: 2:26:42.794 /  2:26:50.051

Disc Size: 24,766,525,959 bytes / 49,364,515,723 bytes  

Feature Size: 21,860,548,608 bytes  / 39,341,795,328 bytes 

Video Bitrate: 16.96 Mbps  / 29.90 Mbps 

Chapters: 9  / 13  

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Custom Digi-book (see image below)

Release date: September 23rd, 2014  / December 4th, 2019  


Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



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)


DUB: DTS-HD Master Audio French 1851 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1851 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1895 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1895 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, None

French (mandatory when English audio is selected)  



• Shirley Jones Interview (12:18)

• Trailer (3:18)


Sinclair Lewis - Jean-Claude Zylberstein (13:43 - French only)
L'Evangile Selon Brooks - Patrick Brion (44:33 - French only)
Trailers (3:19 - English with non-removable French subtitles)




1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Wild Side - Region 'B'- Blu-ray BOTTOM



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.


With almost double the bitrate, the Wild Side image quality takes a healthy bounce forward with richer, deeper colors (flesh tone warm), darker appearance, and more consistent grain texture. It's a notable upgrade.




1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Wild Side - Region 'B'- Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Wild Side - Region 'B'- Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Wild Side - Region 'B'- Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Wild Side - Region 'B'- Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Wild Side - Region 'B'- Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Wild Side - Region 'B'- Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Wild Side - Region 'B'- Blu-ray BOTTOM



More Wild Side - Region 'B'- Blu-ray Captures









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. 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.


The audio also gets an upgrade to 24-bit lossless (DTS-HD). This shows in Previn score and "I'm On My Way to Canaan Land", "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" and a jazzy version of Sabine Baring-Gould's Words played on a trumpet. So another notch ahead of the US release but the fatal drawback is that you cannot access the original English audio without enforced French subtitles. A shame that this is how Wild Side's contractual licensee agreements unfold. The disc is Region 'B'.


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.


Only in French, but two video pieces - one on Sinclair Lewis by Jean-Claude Zylberstein running shy of 1/4 hour and another on director Richard Brooks by Patrick Brion for 45-minutes. Even the included trailer has forced French subtitles and a PAL DVD is included. The big appeal is the hard cover digi-book case with a French essay and over color and black and white 100 photos. It is gorgeous.


Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



Wild Side - Region 'B'- Blu-ray



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 an enjoyable 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!


The Wild Side is geared toward French consumers who require the forced, subtitles but it's refreshing to see an improved a/v presentation in this format. It exists! Perhaps someone can get a dual-layered transfer for Region 'A'. Ohhh.. I can't say enough about the book package - what a beautiful keepsake! Wild Side do those the best...

Gary Tooze

September 19th, 2014

December 9th, 2019



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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