Thursday, February 7, 2008

Timothy Carey - The World's Greatest Sinner

The common theory is that a great character actor sneaks up on the star, the director, and you in the audience, and politely steals the scene. If this is the case then Timothy Carey was not a great character actor.

Sometimes credited as Timothy Agoglia Carey, he was one of the most brooding figures of famous (and infamous) films in the 20th century. He weaseled his way into productions and when that didn’t work he threatened his way in. Carey is rumored to have pulled a gun on Harry Cohn in the middle of an audition in the 1950's, firing blanks at the then head of Columbia Pictures.

The World’s Greatest Sinner is Timothy Carey’s first attempt to manage the other side of the camera as producer/writer/director. With Carey in the starring role it’s the story of Clarence Hilliard, a disillusioned insurance salesman and family man that wants more out of life. Much more. He wants to know where he can find God. He turns to writing, and eventually politics, ultimately finding his voice as a new-world messiah. Clarence spreads his word through pamphlets at first and graduates to evangelism through the new religion of rock and roll. As his grasp on power increases he seduces an elderly woman for money and an underage teen for influence. His street performances grow into full-scale press conferences. Clarence is convinced that man as a whole is God! He spirals toward his much-needed event of clarity.

The film has never been released theatrically and may have never had an official telecine transfer for video but it can be found as a bootleg in the furthest corners of the cinephile circuit. If you can’t find it at least be sure to check out one of the films that Timothy Carey co-starred in. I guarantee you’ve never scene anything like him.

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