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I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was great seeing Andy Griffith in his debut film role play a character (a hobo/singer) I had no idea he could pull off so convincingly. Although the film did seem to drag on at times, and there may have been some overacting on Grifith's part towards the end, it was a well told story ahead of its time. Patricia Neal (one of the most underrated actresses of her time) gives a remarkable performance as well. :fresh:
Incredibly directed, fantastic performances, a truly great film. Patricia Neal is amazing. Lee Remick is impressive in an early role and of course Andy Griffith plays a role far different from Sheriff Andy Taylor. Strong direction, excellent cinematography. The writing is amazing. Powerful and engrossing.
Andy Griffith shouts and laughs himself hoarse in this powerful Elia Kazan film about a no-good hayseed who lets fame and fortune go to his head. A great performance by Andy and Lee Remick.
Comments pending.
Best movie with Andy Griffith ever, including No Time For Sergeants. A perfect story of how populism can lead to demagoguery.
When you think of Andy Griffith, what do you think? It's either The Andy Griffith Show or Matlock, isn't it? I think Matlock, personally, but then, I watched a lot of The Simpsons, and I love crying, "Matlock!" in my best Grandpa Simpson impersonation. (It's not very good.) Oh, and let's not forget infomercials for awful-looking gospel compilations. Blech.

However, before that, before anyone had heard of him, there was A Face in the Crowd and Lonesome Rhodes. (Lonesome Rhodes seems to have become President, but we'll not go there just now.) This is actually a pretty good acting job, though he has to hit fewer notes than pretty much anyone else--two, in fact. He must be genial and a drunken bastard.

We as Americans seem to want to believe that our heroes are just ordinary people, even when they're about as far from such as they can possibly be. At least Lonesome hadn't actually led a lengthy life of privilege before becoming just an ordinary guy--"Just Plain Folks," as they say. Lonesome Rhodes is not the affable country boy everyone thinks he is, but as long as the illusion is kept up, who cares?

Interestingly, among other things, Lonesome Rhodes invents canned laughter in this. It seems an inevitable invention, but at the time the movie was filmed--and the short story was written some years earlier--if there was an audience, it was by God live. If there was laughter, it was by God an audience. Lonesome Rhodes, who held audiences in the palm of his hand, still created an audience that didn't have to like him, just do what he wanted it to.

Funnily enough, Andy Griffith would end up spending the rest of his career playing the same character that Lonesome Rhodes did. I can't help wondering if he'd like to try more developed roles. His costar in this, Walter Matthau, did; Lonesome Rhodes gave way to Andy Taylor and Benjamin Matlock and not much creativity.

Viewers get a first-hand look at Lonesome Rhodes from the moment he is discovered and throughout his career as he becomes more and more known and well-liked to his eventual downfall after the 'people' discover what kind of man he really is. Watching this character evolve is one of the key strengths of this film and, as mentioned before, Griffith keys that success. I think this is a great American film and would recommend that everyone see it, if nothing else for Andy Griffith's performance.
'A Face in the Crowd'
Elia Kazan, 1957

How this movie escaped my attention all of these years, I'll never know. I suppose I'd have to chalk it down to Andy Griffith, whom I've never taken seriously as an actor. Well, let me tell you, he steals this movie. A Face in the Crowd reminds me a lot of Citizen Kane in that it's a masterful character study about a man who lets his own success get to his head, then subsequently uses that power to build and destroy the reputations of others. Mixed in with that is a "cult of personality" bent that is the clear progenitor of films like Network (1976.) It's much better than I ever would have expected, and I'm truly surprised it doesn't show up on more "Best Movies" lists.
Andy Griffith gives a performance of a lifetime in this film and it happens to be his first role. I think this is Elia Kazan's masterpiece. It's really an overlooked film.
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