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A Face in the Crowd (1957) Poster

Quotes

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Mel Miller: [commenting on one of Lonesome Rhodes' on-air tirades after the two have had a falling out] I'll say one thing for him, he's got the courage of his ignorance.

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Actor on Rhodes' show: [Speaking about Senator Fuller] You really sell that stiff as a man among men?

Lonesome Rhodes: Those morons out there? Shucks, I could take chicken fertilizer and sell it to them as caviar. I could make them eat dog food and think it was steak. Sure, I got 'em like this... You know what the public's like? A cage of Guinea Pigs. Good Night you stupid idiots. Good Night, you miserable slobs. They're a lot of trained seals. I toss them a dead fish and they'll flap their flippers.

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Lonesome Rhodes: Listen, I'm not through yet. You know what's gonna to happen to me?

Mel Miller: Suppose I tell you exactly what's gonna happen to you. You're gonna be back in television. Only it won't be quite the same as it was before. There'll be a reasonable cooling-off period and then somebody will say: "Why don't we try him again in a inexpensive format. People's memories aren't too long." And you know, in a way, he'll be right. Some of the people will forget, and some of them won't. Oh, you'll have a show. Maybe not the best hour or, you know, top 10. Maybe not even in the top 35. But you'll have a show. It just won't be quite the same as it was before. Then a couple of new fellas will come along. And pretty soon, a lot of your fans will be flocking around them. And then one day, somebody'll ask: "Whatever happened to, a, whatshisname? You know, the one who was so big. The number-one fella a couple of years ago. He was famous. How can we forget a name like that? Oh by the way, have you seen, a, Barry Mills? I think he's the greatest thing since Will Rogers."

[Mel turns and starts to leave. Then, he turns back towards Lonesome]

Mel Miller: Beanie!

[Beanie, who is manning the automatic appalause machine, instinctively pulls the switch, unleashing a massive abundance of cheers. The machanical jubilation continues as Mel joins Marcia in the waiting elevator, leaving Lonesome alone in the empty penthouse with his broken dreams]

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Marcia Jeffries: You put your whole self into that laugh, don't you?

Lonesome Rhodes: Marcia, I put my whole self into everything I do.

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Lonesome Rhodes: This whole country's just like my flock of sheep!

Marcia Jeffries: Sheep?

Lonesome Rhodes: Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus, shut-ins, pea-pickers - everybody that's got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle. They don't know it yet, but they're all gonna be 'Fighters for Fuller'. They're mine! I own 'em! They think like I do. Only they're even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for 'em. Marcia, you just wait and see. I'm gonna be the power behind the president - and you'll be the power behind me!

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First Mrs. Rhodes: Larry... he thinks he has to take a bite out of every broad he comes across. Then he calls them a tramp, drops them, and there's all sort of psycho something-or-other, you know. I caught him red-handed with my best girlfriend. He broke my jaw.

Marcia Jeffries: It seems to be working quite effectively now.

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Mel Miller: Didn't you know? All mild men are vicious. They hate themselves for being mild, and they hate the windy extroverts whose violence seems to have a strange attraction for nice girls. You should know better.

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Lonesome Rhodes: A guitar beats a woman every time.

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Mel Miller: [of writers] Here you see the lepers of the great television industry. Men without faces. Why, they even slide our paychecks under the door so they can pretend we're not here.

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Lonesome Rhodes: I'm not just an entertainer. I'm an influence, a wielder of opinion, a force... a force!

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Marcia Jeffries: You always drink like that?

Lonesome Rhodes: Not always. Back in Riddle they was pretty strict. Didn't allow us to touch hard liquor till we was 10 or 11.

Marcia Jeffries: Now is there really a town called Riddle?

Lonesome Rhodes: Well, tell you the flat truth, it's just a sort of a whatchacallit, a...

Marcia Jeffries: ...Composite?

Lonesome Rhodes: Compost heap's more like it.

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Lonesome Rhodes: Can't keep anything alive up here. Dust in this city kills everything.

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Marcia Jeffries: They love his voice, they love his guitar, they love his ideas... they should know some of his ideas.

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Joey DePalma: Illegal? Honey, nothing's illegal if they don't catch you!

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Marcia Jeffries: Betty Lou is your public, all wrapped up with yellow ribbons into one cute little package. She's the logical culmination of the great 20th-century love affair between Lonesome Rhodes and his mass audience.

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Lonesome Rhodes: There's always Vanderbilt '44.

Marcia Jeffries: He's gone back to Memphis. I think he wants to forget us both.

Lonesome Rhodes: I thought he'd wait for you till there was ice on the equator.

Marcia Jeffries: That's how long he did wait.

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First Mrs. Rhodes: So... you're Lonesome's new tootsie, huh? "Lonesome," he's a hot one. I hope you have better luck keeping him Lonesome than I did.

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[last lines]

Lonesome Rhodes: [as Marcia and Mel enter the taxi, screams violently] MARCIA!

Marcia Jeffries: [quickly turns and sees him at the top of the building] Mel...

Lonesome Rhodes: DON'T LEAVE ME!

Mel Miller: I don't figure him for a suicide.

Lonesome Rhodes: Marcia!

Marcia Jeffries: Mel, if I'd only left him in that jail in Pickett...

Mel Miller: Marcia, stop it. You were taken in, just like we were all taken in. When we get wise to him, that's our strength. We get wise to him.

Lonesome Rhodes: [continues screaming] Come back, Marcia! Marcia, come back! Don't leave me! Don't leave me!

[Marcia and Mel drive off in the taxi]

Lonesome Rhodes: Don't leave me! Marcia, don't leave! COME BACK! COME BACK! COME BACK!

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Lonesome Rhodes: Thanks for the pies, girls. Y'all gonna spoil me! Well, I reckon I done sung at ya enough for one mornin'. Maybe I'll wind up with a joke. Let's see... Yeah, I got one. Sheriff Big Jim Bess! You say that ain't no joke? The fact that he's running for mayor strikes me as kinda funny. You know, back in my little ol' town of Riddle, the way we elect fellas to office is... we try to figure which fella can best be spared from useful labor. Like, you take the village half-wit. Now, in most places, he's gonna be put on town relief, but in Riddle, as an economy measure, we make him the dog catcher! But, now, this Sheriff of yours, I don't say nothing against him but if you've got any mutts you want rid of, why don't you take them to his place to see if he can handle the job?

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Mel Miller: [of TV] You gotta be a saint to stand all the power that little box can give you.

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Lonesome Rhodes: That's what I've got against working... it's tangled up with the word "hurry". Back in my town, we had a cousin named Harry... they all called him Hurry 'cause he was always running someplace. Till one day he fell down a flight of steps and broke his fool neck. We put a sign on his grave that said... "He was in such a hurry, he couldn't wait to get here."

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[first lines]

Earl Wilson: Oh, Miss Jeffries!

[as he jogs over to the KGRK network's station wagon]

Earl Wilson: Good morning Marcia! Well, I think we have just what you're lookin' for; we always get a good haul on the Fourth of July.

[in reference of her periodic head-hunting for local broadcasting talent on her radio show: A Face in the Crowd]

Marcia Jeffries: Good! Come on, let's go.

[they then drive over to the town jail]

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Lonesome Rhodes: [sitting on stage, frowning] Mr. Luffler doesn't like what I said about his mattress. Shucks, I said you could get a good night's sleep on one of them... if you're real tired.

[audience laughs]

Lonesome Rhodes: There I go again. I just can't get my mouth around the things they want me to say. But, I'll try.

[stands and begins reading from a script]

Lonesome Rhodes: "And now, a message of importance." Now, you good people ain't so dumb you don't know what's important. The atom bomb's important, things like that. A Luffler mattress won't break your back... but it sure ain't no world-shaking message. Just in case you won't be seeing me again... Fellas, come on. Here's a little song to remember me by. Give me an "E".

[singing]

Lonesome Rhodes: Well, good-bye, Mr. Luffler, and thanks for the ride... I'd like to have your money, but I'd rather have my pride. On this corny old commercial we just cannot agree... so you can tear up my contract... make a free man of me! Going to be... a free man in the morning... a free man in the morning... a free man in the morning... or know the reason why!

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Lonesome Rhodes: [on the phone with Marcia, threatening to commit suicide] If you don't come I'll dive off the balcony... and I'm ten blocks from the lake!

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Lonesome Rhodes: One thing I could see right off about a big city... there's a whole lot of people in trouble out there. You don't see it much in the daytime when everyone's hustling around... rushing from where they is to where they ain't... but it's at night, late at night... around 2 o'clock in the morning it's what I call "the dividing line". All you've got left is folks in trouble. I'm gonna tell you people something happened to me this morning. I'm going to tell you, and see if it don't happen to you the same way. If it don't move your hearts... you're just a bunch of big city pickle-hearts. I'll pack up my one shirt and the Bible my daddy gave me... and my cigar box guitar... and I'll just get me on home to Riddle.

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[after discovering Betty Lou in bed with Joey]

Lonesome Rhodes: I'll treat you like any performer on my show that flops. I've got a contract with you. You'll get your money every week as long as you stay in Arkansas.

Betty Lou Fleckum: But I don't want to go home! Ed Sullivan wants me to do my batons act on his show Sunday night.

Lonesome Rhodes: You can do your baton twirling dance in the ladies' room at the Little Rock depot.

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[Lonesome is pounding on Marcia's door in the middle of the night]

Lonesome Rhodes: Marcia, can you hear me? Get up, wake up! It's me, big me, the king. Come on, Marcia, open up. I said hurry up on this door, Marcia! Lonesome's back!

[Marcia lets him in]

Lonesome Rhodes: Just got rid of Betty Lou. Sweet talking little floozy, she'd have ruined me. Fix me a drink.

Marcia Jeffries: What are you doing?

Lonesome Rhodes: We'll have to be more careful than we used to be. I'll have to stay married till I get my new appointment.

Marcia Jeffries: Your what?

Lonesome Rhodes: This is still top secret. The General's been talking to Fuller. He's selling him the idea of creating a Cabinet post for me. "In time of imminent crisis and danger". That's the way the General puts it. Who can rabble people better than me? Hold them in line, right behind the government. If we put Fuller across the way, and we will, he's gonna owe me that. Secretary for National Morale. How's that sound to you? Secretary for National Morale. General's asking him to shake on it after my banquet tomorrow launching Fighters for Fuller.

Marcia Jeffries: Fighters for Fuller?

Lonesome Rhodes: [exhilarated] Yeah, how do you like that name? Huh, huh? HUH? I made it up. Everybody -- everybody's nuts about it! The biggest men in the country are coming to my banquet to get things rolling. I've got an admiral, two governors, some investment house boys and a cabinet minister.

Marcia Jeffries: Which one?

Lonesome Rhodes: I don't know. I told the general to pick one.

Marcia Jeffries: They're coming to your party?

Lonesome Rhodes: Honey, if I ask them, they've got to come! They'd be afraid not to come. I could murder them, just like this.

[Lonesome lets out a big, loud mocking laugh]

Marcia Jeffries: I'm afraid it's true.

Lonesome Rhodes: What's true?

Marcia Jeffries: Right here, tonight, you might have that much power.

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Lonesome Rhodes: [introducing Betty Lou on-stage] Well, here she is. My little Arkansas sweet potato, Betty Lou. I ain't been so happy since the day I fell into Grandpa's corn liquor and just guzzled my way down to dry land! I don't reckon I'll be a free man tomorrow morning. But if this ain't freedom... man, it's the next best thing.

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