If someone were to remake Elmer Gantry with, say, Leonardo DiCaprio or Matthew McConaughey or Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role, they definitely wouldn’t re-shoot this scene. Because if they did, the Stalinist wokesters would tear them apart on Twitter for daring to patronize African-American churchgoers of the ’20s, and in fact for projecting a borderline racist characterization.
Justin Chang and Guy Lodge would sputter and howl and lead the charge. They and their brethren would accuse the filmmakers of trying to make white audiences feel good about themselves, of trying to ignite fantasies about how soulful and open-hearted whites imagine themselves to be in the gentlest of spiritual circumstances.
In the original Elmer Gantry (’60) this scene was one of Burt Lancaster‘s all-time finest — a charismatic movie-star scene — and one reason why he won the Best Actor Oscar that year. But God help any actor or filmmaker today who would be stupid enough to imagine that an evil white person could step into a black church and just blend right in, etc. Only a white supremacist at heart could imagine such a scenario.
Update: Earlier today I received a criticism about this riff from a wokester journalist whom I wont name. I’m posting it because it illustrates the degree of unhinged insanity out there today. Here it is:
Wokester: “You wrote ‘But God help any actor or filmmaker today who would be stupid enough to imagine that an evil white person could step into a black church and just blend right in.” You are aware that in real life Dylann Roof walked into a prayer meeting as a Baptist Church, was welcomed by the all-black group as one of their own, and then shot nine people in the group to death. No offense and due respect, but do you EVER think about what you’re writing, beyond the immediate bile you want to vent? You champion Green Book which ostensibly is a study in love and tolerance, but the main thing you admire about it is imagining how much it pisses off people you hate. Your Gantry post [is] beyond fucked up.”
Hollywood Elsewhere: “I wasn’t thinking of Dylann Roof. I was thinking about Guy Lodge and Justin Chang.”
Wokester: “The fact that you can’t see any meaningful connection says a lot, Jeff. I feel sorry for you and am also beginning to find you kind of scary.”
Hollywood Elsewhere: “Scary because I wasn’t perverse enough (unlike yourself) to see a Dylan Roof connection in an Elmer Gantry clip from 1960? Are you having a FUCKING PSYCHOTIC MELTDOWN?”