Bright Lights Film Journal

The World’s Greatest Sinner: Still MIA

A one man road show with a truly “garage-y” Zappa score, this allegedly terrible looking mess must be saved from the VHS oblivion its been locked into for years now! If you don’t know Timothy Carey, well, yes you do. He was yelling at the Monkees in HEAD (1968), he was spouting epithets and shooting a horse in Kubrick’s THE KILLING and then later played a soldier in Kubrick’s PATHS OF GLORY. In that sense–a two-fer Kubrick–you could think of him as an early American version of Peter Sellers, only Sellers at his most maniacal crossed with a rabid wildcat on acid and two rattlesnakes and Elvis. He rocked the house of Zipper in BEACH BLANKET BINGO and he was a sleazy Arab in a couple of early Charlies’ Angels episodes. And man could he dance in POOR WHITE TRASH:
WORLD’S GREATEST SINNER was this madman’s CITIZEN KANE, his PLAN NINE, his STREETCAR. But it was also his DON QUIXOTE– a melange of brilliant scenes and lunacy of the highest order, suffering from budgetary problems and mismatched jump cuts, swamp rate, who knows.

Carey’s son is holding onto his dad’s legacy with the steely tenacity of a Russ Meyer or a Walt Disney. If you go to his site you see that his company works to professionally digitize and blah blah, so wither the DVD of Greatest Sinner? I remember writing them and hearing that a DVD was in the works, and this was back in 2002 or so. So I dutifully return, like a comet in a long eliptical orbit, to the site and lo, still VHS!

You can feel more than my pain at the AV Forum of DVD Maniacs on this subject. May I suggest Criterion step in? Perhaps they could partner with dear old Absolute and make a kick ass set of SINNER and the various unfinished works and pilots by this great and crazy man.

Til then, we have this: