A Face in the Crowd


D: Elia Kazan

Warner Bros (Elia Kazan)

US 🇺🇸 1957

125 mins


W: Budd Schulberg

DP: Gayne Rescher & Harry Stradling

Ed: Gene Milford

Mus: Tom Glazer

Andy Griffith (Larry ‘Lonesome’ Rhodes), Patricia Neal (Marcia Jeffries), Anthony Franciosa (Joey DePalma), Walter Matthau (Mel Miller), Lee Remick (Betty Lou Fleckum), Percy Waram (Gen. Haynesworth)

Andy Griffith truly steals the show with his acting debut in this smart satire from Elia Kazan, once again from a Budd Schulberg screenplay (following 1954’s ‘On The Waterfront’).

Griffith plays Larry ‘Lonesome’ Rhodes, a folk singer who is interviewed by Patricia Neal’s Marcia Jeffries, as part of her radio programme ‘A Face In The Crowd’ whilst he’s serving a little bit of jail time for drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Shortly after, he becomes a famous celebrity due to his carefree, matter-of-fact attitude and off-the-cuff remarks that strikes a chord with the listening public.

The fame and power ultimately corrupts him as he turns into a egotistical, megalomaniac womaniser with nothing but contempt for the audience who allowed his stardom to rise.

The performances are key here, but Elia Kazan paints an vivid picture about the pitfalls of show business that is as true in modern times just as much as it was in 1957.


Andy Griffith & Patricia Neal in A Face in the Crowd
Andy Griffith & Patricia Neal in A Face in the Crowd