Based on the musical, play and earlier film version of the same name, “Fanny” tells the story of the love between two young french people from the country named Fanny (played by Leslie Caron) and Marius (played by Horst Buchholz). Marius is the son of a bar owner, Cesar (played by Charles Boyer, Best Actor Nomination) and he wants more out of his life than just inheriting Cesar’s bar. So he sails off leaving Fanny on her own and we follow her over the years as she makes various decisions in her life in order to forget Marius. This film was a lot of fun. The characters are very delightful and colorful. I especially loved Cesar, and Fanny’s mother. The humor in this was also very light and fun and I felt that the film as a whole has a different tone than most films that were released at the time. It is a wonder to see Caron transform from the flirty 17 year old Fanny to a bold woman by the end of the film. Ironically, the film cut out the musical from the musical (they decided to use the songs for the underscore) and ended up losing Best Picture to another musical about lovers. West Side Story.
“Elmer Gantry” tells the interesting tale of a con man named Elmer (played by Burt Lancaster, Best Actor Win) who ends up travelling with an evangelist named Sharon Falconer (played by Jean Simmons) performing revivals in tents and various churches. Unbeknownst to Sharon, Elmer is only using these as a means to get money and to become romantically closer to her. Things get very interesting when they land on a town called Zenith where Elmer’s ex, who is now a prostitute (played by Shirley Jones, Best Supporting Actress Win) threatens to expose Elmer’s past. This was quite enjoyable, and was a well done commentary on religion, revivals and faith. Lancaster gives a great performance that charms us rather than repulses us though the character easily could.