Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ethos in Elmer Gantry

"Elmer Gantry" shows a small peek into what cult life entails and the dark nuances that come along with it. Within the 1960s film's trailer, it highlights a man who uses his position of power to excuse sexual indiscretions. The way he acts towards women aids the rhetorical appeal of ethos by creating an heir of male dominance. The men of the time period did still see and treat women as property, making this rhetorical appeal extremely effective. Within the trailer, it shows blips of Gantry with multiple women. Within cult settings, polygamy is socially acceptable. This appeal towards the general male population's set of values attracts potential new members to join the movements. To women, however, this film most likely created feelings of disgust and anger. For rights women were fighting so hard and viciously for, this type of movie feels like a slap in the face.

In a more recent film about cults called "Follow the Prophet", it calls to women's ethos more so than men's. This trailer follows a woman who breaks away from her religious sect in the hopes of finding her identity and freedom. Women audience members may feel an emotional connection to this breakaway and in some ways can relate to it. For people who feel trapped in a bad relationship, unhappy with their current lifestyle, or are just simply stuck in some way, this movie can resonate with their latent feelings. Liberation is a human craving that all people yearn for in some way or another. "Follow the Prophet" leaves  a feeling of longing while "Elmer Gantry" elicits a forbidden desire.


  1. I like the contrast that you created between the two movies based on the ethos. It's interesting to see that the ethos can have a certain impact in one gender of the audience and a complete different impact on the other.

  2. Interesting. The entire male dominance dynamic can probably be seen as a metaphor of society as a whole at that time and now, which is ironic with the backdrop of the liberation desire.