Elmer Gantry kicks off film series | NevadaAppeal.com

Elmer Gantry kicks off film series

The Churchill Arts Council’s February Film Series focusing on movies featuring Burt Lancaster will begin tonight at the Oats Park Art Center.

Tonight’s movie is “Elmer Gantry,” which was originally released in 1960. The film is based on the classic satirical novel of the same name published in 1927 by Sinclair Lewis.

Lewis was the first American author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930 and his many novels include “Main Street,” “Babbit,” “Arrowsmith” (which won the Pulitzer Prize), and “It Can’t Happen Here,” which in 1935, chronicled the election of a fascist as the American president.

“Elmer Gantry,” presents Lewis’ muckraking take on rise of religious activity, evangelism and fundamentalism in America during the 1920s which was being swept by a wave of tent revivalism.

It is the story of a fast-talking, hard-driving (and drinking) traveling salesman who becomes the manager of an itinerant lay preacher going on to become a fire-and-brimstone preacher all his own and was banned in Boston and several other American cities.

In addition to Burt Lancaster, the film, which was directed by Richard Brooks, also features Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy and Shirley Jones.

It won the Academy Awards for Best Actor (Lancaster, who also won the Golden Globe), Best Supporting Actress (Jones) and Screenplay, and was also nominated for Best Picture (losing out to “The Apartment” with Jack Lemmon and Shirley McLaine) and Best Music.

Tickets — $7 for CAC members, $10 for nonmembers— — will be available for purchase in the Center’s Art Bar beginning at 6 p.m. and the film will start at 7 p.m.

The Lancaster series will continue with screenings of “The Swimmer” from 1968 on February 10 and conclude with the 1980 film, “Atlantic City,” on Feb. 17.

Plans are underway for the 31st annual “An Evening with the Arts,” Churchill Arts Council’s fundraising dinner and silent auction which is coming up on March 4 at the Fallon Convention Center. The event raises funds to help support performances, programs and activities in the coming year.

This year’s theme is “A Steam Punk Evening” and appropriate attire is encouraged. Seating is very limited, so early reservations are encouraged. Tickets are $80 per person which includes a fully-catered gourmet dinner, wine and admission to the auction. For $90 per person you get all of the above plus $20 worth of raffle tickets.

We’ll have more information on this event in the coming weeks; for more information or to reserve your table, you can call Churchill Arts at 775-423-1440.

Kirk Robertson covers the arts and may be reached at news@lahontanvalleynews.com