Classic Movie Reviews

A Face in the Crowd

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    Andy Griffith plays an anti-Andy Taylor of Mayberry in this Budd Schulberg-scripted , pulls-no-punches movie. Patricia Neal does a program called "A Face in the Crowd" at a radio station in rural Arkansas, finding interesting people around the county to interview. When she checks out the characters at the local jail one morning, looking for a subject, she gets some juicy material from an overnight "guest" named Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes. When her program airs, the phone lines at the station are overloaded with people who want more of Lonesome Rhodes. He's given a job at the station and soon his fame spreads and he gets a TV gig in Memphis. From there, it's on to a network show in New York. His on-air personna is all folksy honesty, down-home wit and cracker barrel wisdom. Beneath that exterior, the picture is not so pretty. He simply is not a nice man. There was talk in the media industry that Rhodes was patterned after Arthur Godfrey, an icon on early TV who, it turned out, was not the nice guy he appeared to be when on camera. A Face in the Crowd made Andy Griffith a star. But it was not always easy for him to get fully into a character so different from his natural inclinations. In a scene where he had to be highly abusive to a group of black waiters, he had to get well fortified with alcohol in order to be able to play the scene. Lee Remick makes her film debut in this film.


1957, Directed by Elia Kazan

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