On Wednesday, 10 January, at 7 pm, Kaunas Artists’ House presents the screening of “The World’s Greatest Sinner” (1962). This event marks the second instalment in the series of independent films initiated by ”Other Cinema” educational platform. The series began last December with a screening of the surrealist thriller “Christmas Evil” (1980).
“The World’s Greatest Sinner” (1962) is an underground masterpiece and a brilliant DIY movie. The story revolves around Clarence Hilliard, a tedious insurance salesman who gets taken by rock ‘n’ roll music, quits his job, starts calling himself God, establishes a political-religious cult and promises to turn his followers into millionaires, super-humans, or, simply, gods. Eventually, Clarence becomes a rock ‘n’ roll god and runs for the U.S. presidency as a representative of the Eternal Man’s Party.
“The World’s Greatest Sinner” is an excellent example of underground cinema, with such celebrities as the singer Elvis Presley or director Martin Scorsese included amongst its fans. Since the film was never officially released and was only shown in cinemas to a very limited extent, it is almost entirely unknown not only to the general public, but even to cinephiles. The film’s director Timothy Carey has distributed it himself by personally offering it to movie theatres. The premiere of the film was turbulent, with Carey shooting into the ceiling and causing riots. Curiously, the film was never finished, as the director kept finalising it until his death. The film’s soundtrack was created by the young and at the time still unknown American composer Frank Zappa.
Timothy Carey, the director, screenwriter and lead actor of the film, was a colourful personality and a Hollywood outsider. During his career, Carey worked with celebrities like James Dean, Marlon Brando, Stanley Kubrick, John Cassavetes and others, but was never taken seriously as an actor and remained on the margins of the film industry. Most likely, this was due to his complex, conflicting and extremely eccentric personality.
Our gratitude goes to Romeo Carey, the son of Timothy Carey, and “Absolute Films” for a possibility to screen the film.
The film will be shown in English. The event is free.
“The Other Cinema” is an educational platform that introduces and overviews obscure films and their stories and personalities. The goal of this platform is to rescue unwittingly abandoned films from obscurity and review the most interesting manifestations of contemporary independent cinema, as well as to promote people’s interest in alternative cinema history and allow them to develop not only good but also bad taste.