Every three or four years I’ll mention this scene from Ted Post‘s Go Tell The Spartans (’78). Easily one of the best monologues Burt Lancaster ever delivered in his 43-year career, and certainly the most memorable scene in this low-budget Vietnam drama, which was one of the Vietnam wave of films that came out that year (Coming Home, Rolling Thunder, The Boys From Company C). Lancaster’s tale echoes back to this story from screenwriter Ernest Lehman, a recollection of his work on Sweet Smell of Success.
Posted on 9.13.14: If you’re a real movie star like Burt Lancaster was when he made Elmer Gantry, you can sell this scene. But you need a certain largeness of spirit and stand-up confidence. Who could do this scene today if Gantry were to be remade? Who could generate at least a semblance of this planted, here-I-am energy? Chris Evans? Chris Hemsworth? Give me a name.