Obviously, this film was not made as a religious treatise, but as a showcase for Tommy Sands to belt out several tunes. But SING BOY SING highlights Hollywood's problem with Christians, namely: they just don't understand them.
Have you noticed that most religious Christians in movies are either a) sneaky hypocrites, b) wacky nuts, or c) stupid Southerners? This film presents us with two alternatives: Virgil can either choose to be a cool, normal guy, or be a hellfire and damnation preacher who makes everyone around him feel guilty. What about an alternative somewhere in the middle: a decent and likable person who happens to have a strong faith? I can only think of a few films that have such a character: The Hiding Place, Chariots of Fire, and To End All Wars, all great films.
Hollywood understands atheists all right. Edmond O'Brien's character just wants to crush any religious leanings in his client's mind, because he thinks religion is hooey. We find out later in the movie that as a boy Sharkey had been forced to hear sermons about hell and sin, which we suppose left him filled with guilt and anger. Jerry Paris's character TRIES to understand Virgil, but money remains his main god. The man in the recording studio who suggests a rock'n'roll plus hymns record is the quintessential Hollywood type: let's see if we can make money out of the religion thing.
All in all, this is a pretty weak movie, but perhaps a little racy for its time with its hints about stars, girls, and hotel rooms. Edmund O'Brien and Jerry Paris get top marks for their portrayals of sleaze-ball agents.
Maybe the reason Hollywood can't treat Christianity seriously is that nobody out there has been close enough to normal Christians to dispel their stereotypes. While we hear all the time about tolerance of all races, sexual orientations, etc., Christians are still about the only group that can routinely be trashed in Hollywood without the blink of an eye.
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