HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Face in the Crowd, A Big Mouth Strikes Again
Year: 1957
Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, Anthony Franciosa, Walter Matthau, Lee Remick, Percy Waram, Paul McGrath, Rod Brasfield, Marshall Neilan, Alexander Kirkland, Charles Irving, Howard Smith, Kay Medford, Big Jeff Bess, Henry Sharp, Rip Torn, Burl Ives
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal) is a radio producer in Arkansas who likes to get amongst the people for her shows, bringing what she regards as authentic American lives to the media, and by extension the wider world. To that end, she has wound up in prison - to interview the prisoners, that is, not because she has broken the law, though when the Sheriff allows her into the cells which are the home to last night's drunk and disorderlies, the men are reluctant to engage with her. That is until she rouses a sleeping man (Andy Griffith) with a guitar, who angrily reacts until he notices she is quite attractive, and becomes intrigued, then happy to perform a few tunes for her microphone, littered with his folksy wisdom which is ideal for her listeners. Perhaps a little too perfect...

When A Face in the Crowd was initially released, it was regarded as one of the most cynical movies out there about how power manipulates the public, yet takes its toll on those wielding it as well, but did anyone much believe it was accurate as to how the real world politics was taking place, or did they simply see it as a takedown of the advertising world, or those showbiz big timers who get too big for their boots? The thought that the President of the United States could be chosen not on their policies (or lack of them), but their media image and empty speeches that made all the right noises without actually getting into specifics was the stuff of scaremongering, assuming you took it seriously at all: was Eisenhower elected this way, for example?

It seemed doubtful, the President must have had some integrity to achieve this position on the world stage, but director Elia Kazan was well noting how the media were leading the national mood, and his screenwriter Budd Schulberg was only too pleased to build a script about the issue that was dripping in pessimism about how he viewed politics turning out in this new age of television personalities. If the celebrities could tell you what to buy, could they tell you what to think as well? That was the dilemma they both researched and came to the conclusion on, that people truly were that easily led when they believed they would get a reward out of following a certain politician, be that socially or financially, or more hopefully, both at once.

What was remarkable about this, well, one of the remarkable elements of a disturbingly prescient film, was that Kazan and Schulberg had previously teamed up on On the Waterfront, an expressly right wing film that justified the informing on those liberals who were blighted with the Hollywood Blacklist and ruining their careers in the process. There were careers ruined here as well, but only in the context of the story, a surprisingly left wing warning from two men who had been on the frontlines of the entertainment industry and all the controversies that involved, not exactly atoning for their guilt, but acknowledging the strengths of image and hidden politics in presenting those who worked in that line. The drifter, renamed Lonesome Rhodes, is given his own radio show, which under the naïve Marcia's guidance operates as a platform for his down home observations and anecdotes to a wider audience, not realising she has spawned a monster.

She realises later, certainly, that just as she was benevolently using Rhodes to further her career as well as his, he has been exploiting not only her but the so-called hicks and rednecks who form his fanbase, the implication being that he will employ this fame to take a shot at running the country once the senator he has been persuaded to advise and back on his television shows has fallen away. Kazan and Schulberg allow the dreadful thought of that to play out on Neal's increasingly harrowed face: by the closing half act she looks like a grieving widow, a terrific performance which matched Griffiths' equally impressive rendering of an absolute egomaniac, so different from his comedy albums and popular sitcom role. But the casting was spot on throughout, everything about A Face in the Crowd convinced, and it is not often a film from the nineteen-fifties appeared to have predicted the political and media landscape of the twenty-first century, yet here we were. By playing his followers as dupes, Rhodes is seen to sow the seeds of his own downfall... but the chance of a comeback remains, as Walter Matthau informs him in a great speech at the end. In 1957, Rhodes' faux pas on an unwittingly revealing broadcast is his undoing, in 2016, it got one man elected as the leader of the free world. Music by Tom Glazer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1828 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: