Tonight, Tuesday the 12th, Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse is presenting a “monumentally” rare 35mm screening of Timothy Carey’s delirious mindbender The World’s Greatest Sinner. With a soundtrack by Frank Zappa.
Alamo Drafthouse programmer Zack Carlson is nuts about Carey’s jaw-dropper of a movie:
In 1962, a visionary Hollywood wildman named Timothy Carey unleashed THE WORLD’S GREATEST SINNER upon an unprepared world. The 77 minute movie defied description; a shockingly sacrilegious mishmash of rock & roll, megalomania, comedy, horror and sexual insanity that practically blinded anyone who watched it. Audiences were stunned and critics were vaporized in their seats. Centuries ahead of its time, the film disappeared from theaters quickly and was never released on video.
Carey was a brilliant, towering non-stop meltdown of a man who’d forged a character actor career for years, but his lone effort as writer/director/producer/editor is like no other experience you’ll ever have in a theater. His lead performance is one part thunder and one thousand parts maniac, an unforgettably fearless assault on acting and the cinematic arts in general. Venerable filmmakers like John Cassavetes and Martin Scorsese have praised SINNER for its near-terrifying uniqueness, and Carey for his staggering presence. After watching the film in an otherwise empty theater, Cassavetes later cast Carey in two of his movies.
Despite these high-caliber supporters and multiple articles on SINNER in respectable forums like Film Comment Magazine, the movie has spent the last 50 years languishing as a notorious legend. But on Feb 12th, we’ll be screening it in all of its 35mm glory, thanks to a generous print loan from Carey’s own son.
Tickets can be purchased here.
Here’s a rough-looking clip from The World’s Greatest Sinner. Trust me, the 35mm print is exquisite compared to this. But even in a bootlegged video, Carey’s manic energy shines.