A Face in the Crowd


Action / Drama / Music

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Rip Torn Photo
Rip Torn as Barry Mills
Walter Matthau Photo
Walter Matthau as Mel Miller
Andy Griffith Photo
Andy Griffith as Larry 'Lonesome' Rhodes
Lois Nettleton Photo
Lois Nettleton as Mr. Mason's Nurse
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.01 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 6 min
P/S 2 / 4
1.98 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 6 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer8 / 10

Very good but it certainly ain't subtle!

a bit overboard at times--Mt. Rhodes, USS Rhodes, etc.

Griffith's performance is a bit florid--subtle it ain't! The film begins with Andy Griffith in a jail cell with a whole bunch of other n'er do wells and drunks. Into this unlikely spot comes Patricia Neal--a lady with a radio show who is looking to find some singers for her program. While this idea makes no sense, it is how the film starts--suspend your disbelief and just watch. When Griffith gets on tape, however, he immediately changes--exploding into a dynamic personality. he clearly does not mind being on tape or on TV and soon he's parlayed this one event into a gig as a TV personality. And, as if by magic, his show becomes more and more and more popular--and he becomes much more powerful. It's also clear that this 'Lonesome' Rhodes (Griffith) is sociopath--a guy who knows how to play people and will say and do anything to get ahead. Now, it looks like they've created a monster--especially when those around him see the real man behind this image--a man who is potentially very dangerous and self-serving.

It is ironic Griffith became famous for this role AND his Will Stockdale from the TV, Broadway and movie versions of "No Time for Sergeants" as they are almost complete opposites. Stockdale was sweet and innocent--Rhodes was anything but! Yet together, both roles made him a star--leading, of course, to "The Andy Griffith Show" and much more.

Now as far as his character in "A Face in the Crowd" goes, I realize it's considered a brilliant characterization, but I was a bit less impressed than some critics. He's good but also awfully florid--and far from subtle. In fact, that is my biggest complaint about the film. A somewhat more subtle characterization would make this a more timeless movie--today it seems a tad over-wrought. In other words, have the rottenness of his true character be a little less apparent early on--but it's painfully obvious he's a jerk from almost the beginning. Now this is NOT saying it's a bad film--it's very good. I just might have liked it more if it had given us a tiny bit less. Interestingly, the rest of the folks in the film (such as Neal, Walter Mathau and others) were all very believable and well-directed. I am sure this was done to show the contrast between them and Rhodes--but it also made the film seem more like a parody or burlesque than it should have been. Of course, the film is considered by many to be a classic--so what do I know!

By the way, if you like this film, two lesser-known but wonderful films with similar themes are well worth seeing. The far more subtle "The Great Man" with José Ferrer is a terrific movie as is George Sanders' "Death of a Scoundrel". While less famous, I actually preferred these two films--especially "The Great Man". All three films appear to have been influenced by the real-life disintegration of the folksy Arthur Godfrey, as TV audiences across America witnessed just how sweet and homespun this host really was--as bits and pieces of an underlying jerk came seeping out during this very popular show.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird9 / 10

The dark side of power

It is surprising that 'A Face in the Crowd' only got a mixed critical reception when it first came out, though can actually understand why some were not so taken with it. It is great though that 'A Face in the Crowd' has gotten the acclaim it deserves over-time and is so highly regarded here. Anybody that wants to see every film directed by Elia Kazan, see a different side to star Andy Griffith and see a very interesting subject being addressed should absolutely watch this film.

As far as Kazan's films go (all of which are woth watching, even if for a couple of them just the once though to me he never made a "bad" film),'A Face in the Crowd' is not as iconic as 'On the Waterfront', 'A Streetcar Named Desire' or 'East of Eden' or as emotionally powerful as 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn', 'Pinky' and 'Man on a Tightrope'. It is still up there as one of his better films in my view, but he is not the only reason to see it. It was really interesting to see Griffith in such a different role and do it so well and in terms of subject matter it is one of the bravest ones of Kazan's films along with 'Pinky'.

With the exception of 'The Visitors', one of the few films from Kazan that didn't feel like it came from him, Kazan's films were very well made visually. That is the case with 'A Face in the Crowd', it is shot intimately without being static and opened up enough without being heavy or trying to do too much. While having the right amount of audacious style and grit. The editing is sharp and fluid and the locations are made good use of. The music is effective enough, isn't overused and at least fits the mood, wouldn't have said no to Alfred Newman or Alex North scoring though.

Kazan's direction is typically on the money, apart from the rare occasions where a film of his doesn't feel like it was directed by him (i.e. 'The Visitors'). He has great visual style, gives so much dramatic impact to scenes and his famously peerless direction of actors and how he got such great performances from actors against type or inexperienced is all on display here in 'A Face in the Crowd'. The script is razor sharp and has scathing bite as ought for a film with a satirical edge, and provokes a lot of though. Although it is very scathing to the extent that it's almost scary, it is done in good taste too.

The story is a compelling and brave one, really admire it when any film or anything take on this subject and represent the media in this way (a truthful one by the way and should be portrayed a lot more) and it has aged incredibly well. Namely because, sadly, the subject is still very relevant today (just like when 'Pinky' tackled racism). Anybody who has read any of my previous reviews will notice my admiration for films handling difficult but worth addressing topics and exploring them in an uncompromising way, which 'A Face in the Crowd' does and brilliantly, and if anybody feels uncomfortable after watching that is a good thing.

Furthermore, the characters are interesting. Can understand where some critics are coming from when they feel that with Rhodes being such a juicy and larger than life character with an incredibly powerful presence in a quite scary way that he dominates everything else too much, but personally don't agree so much. Although it is Rhodes that everybody remembers, one shouldn't overlook the other characters as Marcia brings a lot of heart to the film. He also doesn't feel too much of a cartoon at all and is quite accurate too. Griffith is absolutely brilliant and was never better, while there is also a fine performance from an emotive Patricia Neal. All the performances are very good.

My only complaint is the slightly too drawn out ending.

Otherwise, this is absolutely great in almost every way. 9/10

Reviewed by bkoganbing10 / 10

The Underside of John Doe

Just imagine if instead of rebelling against the new order of things that Edward Arnold planned for the country, Gary Cooper had collaborated and eventually took it over in Meet John Doe. Then you have some idea of what Elia Kazan was trying to say in A Face In The Crowd.

A few years later there's no way on the planet that Andy Griffith could have been cast as Larry 'Lonesome' Rhoads the John Doe of American nightmares. Griffith had starred on Broadway in No Time for Sergeants, cut some comedy albums, did some television appearances, but he was not a big or a small screen name. So with no image to counteract, Elia Kazan could cast him and he gives one powerful performance. But it never would have happened had he been Sheriff Andy Taylor first.

Local radio station manager Patricia Neal discovers this country boy philosopher in the local jail in her Arkansas home town. Seeing he's got charisma, she puts him on the air. She figures she has another Will Rogers on her hands, but Griffith proves to be a far more malevolent person than Will Rogers ever was.

Rogers was the guy who said he never met anyone he didn't like. Griffith feels there isn't anyone he ever met he couldn't clip. The frightening thing is he comes real close to proving it.

Some future stars make some early appearances in A Face In The Crowd besides Griffith. Anthony Franciosa is the smooth talking ad man who rides a good thing when he sees it and that comment can be taken a lot of ways. Lee Remick is the wide-eyed cheerleader seduced by Griffith, and the good life. Walter Matthau who in his early years played a lot of hoodlums in this case is the writer who catches on early what Griffith is all about.

My favorite is Kay Medford however. She has only one scene in the film with Patricia Neal. But she really scores with it as Griffith's forgotten wife who even when tipsy knows exactly how much of a piece she can get on his celebrity.

A Face In The Crowd is written by Budd Schulberg who along with Elia Kazan were friendly witnesses at the House Un American Activities Committee. The ironic thing is that both these guys considered themselves as men of the left and certainly A Face In The Crowd wasn't written by any Republican. The unkindest cut of all to Elia Kazan was the fact he got booed at the Oscars when he received a deserved Lifetime Achievement Award and was eulogized eloquently by Pat Buchanan when he died. What a world.

Eleven years after A Face In The Crowd came out, Kazan and Schulberg proved to be prophets of sorts when George C. Wallace ran for president. If his campaign wasn't a 'Lonesome Rhoads' special I don't know what was.

Of course Griffith falls, but how he falls is something else. I won't reveal it, but think back to that much imitated ending from another Elia Kazan masterpiece, A Streetcar Named Desire.

A Face In The Crowd is a very relevant film today considering the influence some of these pious country types have in the religious right of today.

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