3 Stars

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A Face in the Crowd chronicles the rise and fall of Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith), a boisterous entertainer discovered in an Arkansas drunk tank by Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal), a local radio producer with ambitions of her own. His charisma and cunning soon shoot him to the heights of television stardom and political demagoguery, forcing Marcia to grapple with the manipulative, reactionary monster she has created. Directed by Elia Kazan from a screenplay by Budd Schulberg, this incisive satire features an extraordinary debut screen performance by Griffith, who brandishes his charm in an uncharacteristically sinister role. Though the film was a flop on its initial release, subsequent generations have marveled at its eerily prescient diagnosis of the toxic intimacy between media and politics in American life.

FILM INFO

  • Elia Kazan
  • United States
  • 1957
  • 126 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.85:1
  • English
  • Spine #970SPECIAL FEATURES
    • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • New interview with Ron Briley, author of The Ambivalent Legacy of Elia Kazan
    • New interview with Andy Griffith biographer Evan Dalton Smith
    • Facing the Past, a 2005 documentary featuring actors Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, and Anthony Franciosa; screenwriter Budd Schulberg; and film scholars Leo Braudy and Jeff Young
    • Trailer
    • PLUS: An essay by critic April Wolfe and a 1957 New York Times Magazine profile of Andy Griffith

    New cover by Marc Aspinall

    April 23, 2019

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Ronald Epstein

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Ronald Epstein

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The price link below will take you directly to the product on Amazon. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

 
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Matt Hough

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Can't wait to own the film in high definition and to have these excellent-sounding bonus features with it.
 
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Dick

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Not one single commentary among the six April releases.
 

Robert Harris

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How many films have a “co-starring” credit?
 

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Yes, this picture is probably more reflective of our political situation now than it was of the world it debuted in. Great film with an epic turn from Andy Griffith. Although, I would say, this is sort of toned down from the more dangerous lunacy we have to cope with now.
 

Reggie W

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Sorry, I thought I had just made a bland comment that did not point the finger at anybody nor single anybody out and so did not think it was politically inflammatory.

If you think it crossed a line or will lead to trouble here please feel free to delete that post and this one, Robert.

Not my intent, I just was trying to say it is a film people should watch and may get more bang for their buck from now than folks did back when it was released.

Though the film was a flop on its initial release, subsequent generations have marveled at its eerily prescient diagnosis of the toxic intimacy between media and politics in American life.
The film itself is obviously commenting on these things so in this context I thought I had just made a relevant comment.
 

Thomas T

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Stop with the current political commentary!
While I totally understand the HTF's desire to avoid political dissension but to be fair, how is it possible to discuss a film with political content without discussing that political content and its contemporary resonance? If we are discussing, All The King's Men or All The President's Men or even something like the current Vice are we to restrict outselves to the political climate of the film's era without their current parallels? It's like asking not to discuss current race relations when discussing older films like The Defiant Ones and Imitation Of Life that dealt with race in America during the 1950s.
 

Dick

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While I totally understand the HTF's desire to avoid political dissension but to be fair, how is it possible to discuss a film with political content without discussing that political content and its contemporary resonance? If we are discussing, All The King's Men or All The President's Men or even something like the current Vice are we to restrict outselves to the political climate of the film's era without their current parallels? It's like asking not to discuss current race relations when discussing older films like The Defiant Ones and Imitation Of Life that dealt with race in America during the 1950s.
As a member who has several times been warned on this forum about political content, I must say I agree with Tom on this. It's a fine line; none of us here has an agenda that includes offending anyone, we are simply reacting to specific films that mirror or suggest current events, and to disallow comments along those lines kind of hamstrings us, no? Political correctness is one thing, but that can be a short road to censorship, something none of us here believes in. I suspect I will receive another warning now, having said this. :)
 

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A roommate of mine in college convinced me to watch this film because I was a big Andy Griffith fan. It blew me away. I don't believe that Griffith ever gave a more potent and chilling performance in his career like he did in this film.

Sadly, after having encountered Griffith in the flesh and talking with friends who knew him well over the years, I learned that his true personality was much closer to that of Lonesome Rhodes than what he displayed in public. Still, it's a remarkable performance in a brilliant and still-timely satire.

I've shared this story often, but I don't know if I've done so here.

During college in the 1990's, I spent my summers acting in a show down in Manteo, NC, where Andy lived. My first summer down there, I was in the local grocery store, checking out my groceries. The front door of the store opened and in walked Andy Griffith; shirtless, tousled, and obviously inebriated. He stood at the front of the store and shouted, "WHERE IN THE HELL IS THE TARAGON?"

I was, needless to say, quite caught off guard by this scene, notwithstanding the fact that the drunken loudmouth standing before me was a man I grew up idolizing.

An employee of the store went to Andy and led him back to the spice aisle.

The cashier noticed the flabbergasted look on my face and said, "Sadly, this type of thing happens more often than you'd imagine," and went back to scanning my purchases with a look that told me that this was, indeed, nothing new.

I encountered Andy a few more times in the years I worked down there. One time, he was floating by our backstage area in his pontoon boat, giving us the finger. Another time, he was visiting the theater to give a talk and accept an award for his support of the show over the years. (He had worked there as a young man.) We were told not to speak to him. He was, again, drunk and proceeded to disjointedly ramble for ten minutes or so, flipping from one subject to the next with no connection in topics.

I learned a hard lesson during those summers about expectations versus reality. There was a time after that where I had a hard time watching anything he was in, especially The Andy Griffith Show, which had been and remains a favorite show of mine. Gradually, I was able to separate the man from the work and could enjoy his performances again. I'll never be able to forget my disappointment in him as a person, though.
 

Robert Crawford

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While I totally understand the HTF's desire to avoid political dissension but to be fair, how is it possible to discuss a film with political content without discussing that political content and its contemporary resonance? If we are discussing, All The King's Men or All The President's Men or even something like the current Vice are we to restrict outselves to the political climate of the film's era without their current parallels? It's like asking not to discuss current race relations when discussing older films like The Defiant Ones and Imitation Of Life that dealt with race in America during the 1950s.
Thomas,

That is correct as that type of discussion can and will go down a slippery slope very quickly in order to discuss the current state of politics in this country. The Moderator Staff is not going to allow that broader political discussion on this forum.

4. No politics or religion. We do not permit the discussion of politics or religion at HTF. However, there is a narrow exception to this rule. If the subject matter of a movie or television show includes politics and/or religion, then they may be discussed insofar as they pertain to that specific movie or television show. We stress, however, that such discussions are carefully monitored and will be moderated if it appears that any participant is using this narrow exception to introduce a broader political or religious discussion than is warranted by the movie or television show under discussion. Also, anyone who has not seen a particular movie or television show is disqualified from discussing its political and/or religious content under this rule. Note: Posts by HTF staff including reviewers may on occasion be given wider discretion by site management.
 
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Robert Crawford

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The film itself is obviously commenting on these things so in this context I thought I had just made a relevant comment.
Reggie,

I'm just trying to prevent any further in-depth political commentary regarding the current political climate as this forum's membership is made up of people with different political philosophies and as such, political discussion can easily cross the line as a full blown discussion of today's politics. Based on our posting guidelines, such a discussion should take place somewhere else besides the HTF.
 

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I learned a hard lesson during those summers about expectations versus reality. There was a time after that where I had a hard time watching anything he was in, especially The Andy Griffith Show, which had been and remains a favorite show of mine. Gradually, I was able to separate the man from the work and could enjoy his performances again. I'll never be able to forget my disappointment in him as a person, though.
I've encountered many stars both personally (Tab Hunter sat next to me at a dinner party once) and professionally (I was petting a stray cat on a set once when Christopher Walken came over and fed the cat some sushi) and had the ability to observe them first hand. I've found that with three exceptions (who shall go nameless), the majority of them are very nice people.
 

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Reggie,

I'm just trying to prevent any further in-depth political commentary regarding the current political climate as this forum's membership is made up of people with different political philosophies and as such, political discussion can easily cross the line as a full blown discussion of today's politics. Based on our posting guidelines, such a discussion should take place somewhere else besides the HTF.
Yes, and I appreciate the difficulty of your job and that you do it well. So, thank you for doing so. I have no complaint with your warning.

I do realize that a good half the battle may not be what the first person says but rather how the next 5 people react to it.
 

Peter Apruzzese

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Yes, and I appreciate the difficulty of your job and that you do it well. So, thank you for doing so. I have no complaint with your warning.

I do realize that a good half the battle may not be what the first person says but rather how the next 5 people react to it.
"That's a bingo!"
 

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I've encountered many stars both personally (Tab Hunter sat next to me at a dinner party once) and professionally (I was petting a stray cat on a set once when Christopher Walken came over and fed the cat some sushi) and had the ability to observe them first hand. I've found that with three exceptions (who shall go nameless), the majority of them are very nice people.
I was fortunate to be able to interact with a lot of professional golfing legends as a volunteer for a PGA Senior Tour event that was held locally for several years, and my experience was very similar to yours. With a couple of exceptions (including one which would surprise many golf fans), they were very nice people. I will say that Arnold Palmer was exactly as he seemed -- one of the most decent, generous, down-to-earth friendly persons I have ever met. He genuinely seemed to enjoy being the legend Arnold Palmer and all the responsibility that carried.