This was the first film of a multli-picture deal between Andy Griffith and Universal. Griffith was so disappointed with this film that he declined to make the other pictures that were part of the deal. See more »
Reverend Samuel D. Whitehead:
[In reply to the old gossip who said that he had played the organ for a "naked harlot"]
She was not naked. And how do you know she was a harlot? You are bearing false witness!
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This is an overlooked, but endearing, Andy Griffith movie. After he and Don Knotts achieved fame on TV both made movies that drew on their Mayberry personas. Knotts's movies became tiresome but Griffith's turn here is terrific. Griffith is Rev. Samuel Whitehead, fresh out of seminary and sent to a small Kansas town where two warring families dominate the church and the town. Every other minister at the church has been driven out or has fled (of course Whitehead isn't told any of this). Very quickly Whitehead finds himself in the middle of the feud which leads to hilarious confrontations. The movie plays very well and has a very dramatic scene late in the movie when Whitehead's patience is finally at an end and the church has been literally destroyed. The movie suddenly shifts from a comedy to a drama and is very poignant. It makes me wonder if the story would've been as good if it had been a drama from the start. The supporting cast is excellent with Miss America Lee Merriweather as Sam's wife and Jerry Van Dyke as his useless brother-in-law. Of course Jack Dodson (Howard Sprague, the Mayberry town clerk)is instantly recognizable and he actually does a very good job. Another thing that makes this movie stand out is that it is such a positive portrayal of someone trying to follow a Christian walk. How many movies have been made in the last couple of decades where ministers or priests are portrayed so realistically and so positively? Rev. Sam Whitehead is such a great character that his story could've easily have carried a TV series.
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