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The other night, I introduced my wife to one of my favorite movies, Ladykillers. (Allison did not like it, by the way.) I have seen it many times before, but I have never heard/understood/appreciated this line from the sermon at Marva’s church, which you might remember better from his “I smite! You smite! He smites! We done smote!” line.

…To smite is to reMIND! We got to
STOP that decline! And scramble back
UP to the face a the almighty Gyod!


…’Stead a worshippin’ that GOLDEN
calf, that earthly TRASH on that
GARBAGE island! That GARBAGE island
in that shadowland WAY outside the
Kingdom a God!

(“Way outside!”)

…That GARBAGE island where scavenger
birds feast on the bones a the
backslidin’ damned!

(“Yes they do!”)

…And so, let us pray…

Admittedly, the motif of taking all the corpses of the criminals on barges to the garbage island makes it a clear image of hell without this explanation, but I like that the sermon has a larger function in the movie than simply motivating Marva to smite Gawain later on. (“Sometimes it’s the only way!”)

I suppose that this also suggests that we are meant to see the casino money as the golden calf, and that Marva is supposed to represent Moses, especially as she tries to reform the criminals by inviting them to church once she learns of their plot.

(Text from Screenplays for You)

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