Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Worlds Greatest Sinner

As usual, I missed the first and most important day of the most important dates in my Holiday calendar, Last night was the first night of The Festival of Zappadan. It starts with the date of Frank Zappa's physical planetary exit December 4, 1993 and ends on December 21st, the date on which he was born in 1940. I have been participating in this "blogswarm" since it's official inception in 2006. But, I tend to spasmodically celebrate Zappadan through out the entire year. I think in some ways, Frank would have enjoyed my habitual absent mindeness. I do. 
To mark this auspicious date, I would like to hight light the 1962 cheap B Movie, The Worlds Greatest Sinner. In fact this movie was so Grade B, in the 1960's sense that it wasn't even really appreciated until 2001! The Worlds Greatest Sinner was written by, directed by and starring Timothy Carey. Martin Scorsese has championed this movie. A summation of the plot?
 The self-financed film tells the story of a frustrated insurance salesman, Clarence Hilliard (played by Carey), who quits his job because he finds it meaningless. After witnessing an ecstatic crowd at a rock concert, Hilliard forms a band. Finding that he can whip crowds into a frenzy with his wildly unhinged rockabilly performances, Hilliard proceeds to churn his fan base into a political party, and eventually into a religious cult based on Hilliard's assertion that every man is a god. Clarence finances the cult by seducing elderly widows out of their life savings (the film features sequences of Timothy Carey making love to elderly women, as well as a 14-year-old girl). The more powerful Clarence becomes, the more egomaniacal and detached from reality he grows, eventually insisting upon being called God with a capital "G" (literally-- "God Hilliard"). His followers worship him. Soon he personally challenges the God of the Bible to prove that Clarence himself is not the true Almighty. God obliges him.
He asked his 22 year old friend Frank Zappa to score the film In an interview with Steve Allen in 1962, the neophyte composer sarcastically refers to the film as the worst film ever made. But the rockabiily/blues/gospel Edgar Varese inspired soundtrack contains the germ, the spores, the dna that was the fertile compost of ideas that  proved for the next 30 years, that in Zappa's words,  "The Present Day Composer Refuses To Die."
and of course here is the sound track for this blog mixed with  the visuals from my favorite creepiest movie ever  "The Thing With Out A Face":
Joyeaux Jour 2 de Zappadan! Tout le Monde!

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