Three years after "On the Waterfront," the same team of director Elia Kazan and writer Budd Schulberg made this much lesser known and sorely underrated classic. Patricia Neal plays Marcia Jeffries, a young reporter who does a local show for her uncle's Arkansas radio station called "A Face in the Crowd" and discovers a charismatic and talented hobo named Larry Rhodes in the local jail. Rhodes plays guitar, sings blues and rockabilly, and can talk up a storm. Dubbed "Lonesome Rhodes" by Marcia, he makes a meteoric climb to the top of the entertainment world, picking up powerful conservative backers and political connections and turning arrogantly corrupt along the way. It's a cynical portrait of advertising, entertainment, and politics, with excellent writing and fine acting. Matthau is the writer with a conscience ("Just let the vermouth kiss the gin"), Tony Franciosa in his second film is the scheming young manager, and in her screen debut 22-year-old Lee Remick beats Kirsten Dunst for sheer beauty and sexiness as a teenaged champion baton twirler Rhodes marries after a whirlwind romance. But it is Andy Griffith, aged 30 in his film debut, who offers the most astounding performance in the lead role. One can't help thinking he burned himself out giving it his all!
Click here to see the rest of this review
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus