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Cafe Inquiry's Skeptic SINema Film Series Presents: Elmer Gantry

Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m.


Burt Lancaster’s daughter Susan Lancaster and film historian Ed Rampell discuss the film and motion picture patrimony of Burt Lancaster.

Join us for popcorn and a FREE MOVIE in the Steve Allen Theater! For the past year, Cafe Inquiry has been your host for our year-long Skeptical SINema film series with a secular, skeptical, or topical bent, followed by discussion. We end the series this month.

For November, the Center celebrates the 100th birthday of the late Burt Lancaster by showing the classic Elmer Gantry, which won three Oscars in 1961, including one for Burt as Best Actor. To help honor Burt’s career in the movies, his daughter, Susan Lancaster, will talk before the film showing about her father and his appreciation of naturalistic explanations and the pursuit of wisdom. Susan is a Friend of the Center and involved with the Center’s Secular Organizations for Sobriety.

Following the movie, local film historian and journalist Ed Rampell will briefly talk about the history of Elmer Gantryand lead a Q&A discussion. Ed is the co-author of the new The Hawaii Movie and Television Book, which includes information on Burt Lancaster and From Here to Eternity .

Based on the1927 satirical novel by Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry is the story of a fast-talking, hard-drinking traveling salesman who always has a risqué story and a hip flask to entertain cronies and customers alike. He is intrigued with Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons), a lay preacher whose hellfire and damnation revivalism has attracted quite a following. Gantry uses his own quick wit and knowledge of the bible to become an indispensable part of Sister Sharon's road show but soon finds that his past catches up with him in the form of Lulu Bains (Shirley Jones), now a prostitute. While Gantry seeks and eventually gets forgiveness from Sharon, tragedy strikes when she finally manages to get out of her revivalist tent and opens a permanent church.

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Lewis based Elmer Gantry on various Kansas City preachers he studied, and Falconer on elements of the L.A.-based evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson.

Running time: 2 hours, 26 minutes (Note: Due to the length of the film, there will be a 5-minute intermission.)

Intro, film screening: 7:30 – 10:20 p.m.
Discussion: 10:20 - ~ 11 p.m.
Center for Inquiry-L.A.
4773 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 666-9797


Free admission • Plenty of parking
Donations to help keep this program running are much appreciated.
Held in the Steve Allen Theater & lobby at CFI-L.A.