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|Index||122 reviews in total|
A timeless story,as evidenced by all the allegories to recent personalities here ( Howard Stern, Clinton, etc...)...HOWEVER..the film is based (loosely) on a personality of the mid-50s: one Arthur Godfrey..yes, the IL' Redhead himself. Skillfully wrapped in the cliché of 'country boy makes good' story, the Godfrey story was hot news in 1957,and there weren't too many people back then who missed its allusions For those who do not know: Arthur Godfrey was one of THE hottest things in the country in the early to mid 1950's: he literally had about two or three different TV shows on the schedule, plus a radio show that was among the most popular in the day. Godfrey was JUST like this movie in this respect: on the air, he was America's home-spun hero..telling folksy stories....crooning in an off tone baritone, and presenting pure, CLEAN entertainment. OFF the air,however the legend that is Arthur Godfrey to this day is one of THE biggest control freaks in show biz history..to the point of controlling the lives of all of his 'family'..unfortunately that turned out to be downfall...One Julius LaRosa had been a singer that Godfrey had 'discovered' in the US Navy Band...after he was discharged LaRosa became a singer on Godfrey's nighttime TV show "Arthur Godfrey and Friends",where he became an instant star among the bobby sox set. In time, LaRosa started a recording career,and started to have VERY successful records..then suddenly, in 1953, Godfrey suddenly fired LaRosa from his show for the mysterious reason of him having 'no humilty' ...it has been assumed since then that Godfrey was extremely jealous of Larosa's success...Anyways, this exposed the 'real' Godfrey to the public.,and while it didn't happen as quickly or as totally as Lonesome Rhodes' career,Godfrey's career as a superstar was effectively over after that..he eventually was reduced to hosting game shows and such. Writer Schulberg obviously also puts in his 2 cents on fame...politics..the show business...and early television here, but as I said,there wasn't NO ONE in those days who didn't know it was about Godfrey....
Andy Griffith made this film when he was still an actor and not the
aw-shucks sheriff of Mayberry. Lonesome Rhodes (Griffith) is more than a TV
personality: he is a media demagogue who understands the manipulative power
of language and images. You might think a film made in 1957 would be
hopeless dated but not this one. It is almost prophetic in its portrayal of
modern media. When Marshall McLuhan-I know, who?-wrote The Medium is the
Message, he must have had this film partially in mind.
Griffith is perfect: he is a mixture of cornpone and Satan. Patricia Neal is the woman-frequently abandoned and abused--who discovered the man and loves him for what she thought he was. Walter Matthau is the Princeton man who becomes one of the many faceless writers behind the façade of the county wit-Rhodes: the man admired for his `extempore and natural' humor.
Watch early on in the film for a scene taking place in the local jail. In one quick and brief flash of expression, Griffith reveals the true face of Lonesome Rhodes the rest of the film tries to mask. What brilliant acting by Griffith; what brilliant screen writing by Budd Schulberg; what brilliant directing by Kazan.
I just saw this movie very late the other night, and I must say WOW!
Like the rest of you, I saw "A Face In the Crowd" on a regular VHS
edition, but it wouldn't matter which edition I saw it in because this
was one of the few movies recently that made the jaw of this movie snob
literally DROP with amazement over how daring, how edgy, and how much
mastery this movie had over the film-making craft.
I'm beginning to realize that in the 1950's there was a short period of time (1955-1960, say) where the world of Broadway and the theater, Television, and Hollywood came together, and the careers of people like Rod Serling, Sidney Lumet, and "A Face In the Crowd"'s own Budd Schulberg were started. The best screenwriters in the movie business became innately aware of the increasing importance and influence of the new media form Television, while the best directors (like Elia Kazan), many of whom had directed numerous plays, knew how to cull the talents of Broadways hottest and most gifted performers, and at least for a couple of years, managed to get some awesome performances out of them. That's why I view this movie in the same sort of category as "The Sweet Smell of Success", that ever so sour and bitingly satiric parable on the corruption of American glamour and fame, and how publicity is just as much of a curse as a blessing. The performances in that film are like few others in the same era, and I think its no coincidence that "A Face In the Crowd" came out the same year as the other film. The main scribes of both those films, Clifford Odets and Budd Schulberg, were experienced with TV work by the time they penned their masterpieces (though Schulberg could also claim as his masterpiece 'On the Waterfront').
So anyway, I suggest to all who can hear me and have a love enough for this film to want to see it given the presentation it deserves, that we all write to the Criterion Collection and other DVD distributing companies and ask, no DEMAND that a restored, cleaned up version of "A Face In the Crowd", with as many special features as can be rustled up, be released as soon as possible. It's like writing your congressman, except instead of asking for a new factory of national park, we're asking for the wider availability of a piece of art that has gone with far too little acclaim for far too long. Who's with me?!?
If you think that the extend of Andy Griffith's acting ability is playing
good old boy sheriff or aging lawyer. Do yourself a favor and watch this
movie. In it he shows the many shades of the character Lonesome Rhodes,
pulling you in with his charm amd homespun philosophy until you realize
there is a snake hiding in that Downhome sheeps clothing.
I have watch this film many times and am always fascinated by the subtle hints early in the film to what he eventually reveals to the world.
a five star movie that was way ahead of it's time.
The fictional story of a vagabond who is discovered and becomes a mega entertainment star who not only aquires fame and fortune but also political power. I came away from this film with the thinking that in 1957 when the picture came out in a strange way it must have terrified viewers. The film was clearly ahead of its time. By todays standards the egotistical, cynical and power hungry Lonesome Rhodes actually is quite tame but in 57 he must have been viewed as a cross between Hitler and Arthur Godfrey. Andy Griffith is nothing less than brilliant as Rhodes. Superb support from Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau, Anthony Franciosa and Lee Remick in her first motion picture. The movie never lags as it grips the viewer from the opening right to the final scene.
I just find it hard to believe that Andy Griffith received no kudos or award nominations for his role as Lonesome Rhodes in this movie. His performance is quite amazing. I think that because he played such an obnoxious person, one that we really come to dislike, that people confused the role with the actor. I just saw it on TV (Dec, 2002), and maybe the world of 1957 just was not ready for this kind of realism.
One of the best pictures I've seen to date. Griffith had the part of the womanizing, opinionated, lazy, loud mouthed bum down pat. In fact, the entire cast was superb in this dynamic, gripping, and in the first half, uproariously funny drama which clearly shows how ego can not only destroy the egotist but those close to him. This film is an equal to Griffith's fine performances as Horton Maddock in "Savages" and Howard Pike in "Hearts of the West". 4 stars.
Not only is this film great but the performance that "our loveable ole boy Andy Griffith" gave was one to remember! His portrayal of "Lonesome Rhodes" was non-pareil in that he was the essence of evil. Griffith was even frightening in this role. Kazan did a superb job of directing. Casting real including Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau, et al. Just one dynamite film!
This film shows what a fine actor Andy Griffith truly is, and what
roles he could have mastered had he not chosen the Mayberry path
Directed by Elia Kazan, the political drama and satire of commercialism "A Face in the Crowd" is the story of Lonesome Rhodes (Griffith), a charismatic guitar-playing drifter who is discovered by radio executive Marcia Jeffries (the husky-voiced Patricia Neal) while in jail on a public drunk charge. He catapults to radio and TV stardom under the guise of being an aw-shucks homeboy who loves his fans. In fact, Lonesome Rhodes is a slimy, greedy, egotistical, manipulative womanizer with underhanded political aspirations and nothing but contempt for his gullible audience. The film was far ahead of its time in its theme and telling, and Andy Griffith gives a blazing performance that rivals Burt Lancaster's in "Elmer Gantry" (for which Lancaster won an Oscar). That this film wasn't even nominated for any awards is very surprising.
I also am saddened that it's never been released on DVD; it's one of the best of its kind I have ever seen, and was certainly Griffith's plum role and best performance. With a stellar supporting cast, including Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau, Tony Franciosa and a beautiful Lee Remick in her first film role, "A Face in the Crowd" is a must-see film, and should eradicate any opinion you may have that Griffith was only capable of his wholesome TV roles of Sheriff Taylor and Ben Matlock.
Their collaboration cemented in infamy with "On the Waterfront", Elia
Kazan and Budd Schulberg create this thang. And what a thang it is!
Andy Griffith gives the performance of his career, and nobody knows it.
Much like Lonesome Rhodes'
elusively corrupt character, this film has become one revered by some, and
unseen by those that should see it most.
Schulberg shows a charismatic vagrant and his hayseed charm revolutionize
television. Along with the increased income, fame greedily kills the bumpkin
within, and turns him into something much worse, if you can believe it: a TV star. Schulberg wrote another provocative work, his book about Hollywood and its
dirty denizens, "What Makes Sammy Run?". Study him and this fantastic and
awe inspiring Kazan film, and you will see why great films that followed winked and tipped their hat; films that include Paddy Chayefsky's "Network", Jimmy
Brooks' "Broadcast News", Spike Lee's "Bamboozled" and P.T. Anderson's
This film truly is a masterwork and an incredible, incredible performance by
Andy Griffith. 10 outta 10!
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