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A Face In The Crowd Criterion Blu-ray Review


“A Face In The Crowd” is still a relevant story today.

In order to find content for a radio program called “A Face In The Crowd,” Marcia Griffith heads to a jail to find someone to talk to. While there she encounters Larry Rhodes (later dubbed Lonesome Rhodes) who is a country drifter that loves to sing, drink, joke, and talk honestly to a fault. To make a long story short, Rhodes becomes an overnight sensation from his appearance as he appeals to the common men and women. From there on out, he moves on up in the world as he gets a TV show, becomes an ad star, and discovers he has a great influence over people. Alas, the power gets to his head and he begins to put off those around him.

Directed by Elia Kazan (perhaps best known for helming “On The Waterfront”) and scripted by Budd Schulberg, 1957’s “A Face In The Crowd” is a thoughtful American character study that was far ahead of its time. As you might be able to gather from the synopsis, the forward thinking story has a rather strong parallel with a certain current political figure not to mention celebrities in general. The film also dives deep into subjects such as television, advertising, public soap boxes, the public eye, etc. Granted, it’s a little long winded as it tends to overstay its welcome in terms of its exploration of these subjects, but it’s still a poignant and compelling story to be sure.

Andy Griffith is obviously most well known for the iconic “The Andy Griffith Show,” but don’t expect that persona anywhere near this movie. Lonesome Rhodes is a much different character in that he’s big, showy, loud, wild, a womanizer, and a generally loathsome egotistical human being. The role really shows Griffith’s range as an actor. The film also boasts quality performances from the always reliable Walter Matthau and especially Patricia Neal as the woman who essentially created the monster that is Lonesome Rhodes.


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? A nice hi-def upgrade that offers up a clearer image.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? A very crisp Mono track. This is the best the film has sounded.

* “A Face In The Crowd” trailer.
* A booklet featuring photos, credits, an essay by film critic April Wolfe, an excerpt from the published script by Elia Kazan, a piece on Andy Griffith by Gilbert Millstein
* A new interview with author Ron Briley about Elia Kazan and the central character and politics of “A Face In The Crowd.”
* Another new interview with Evan Dalton Smith about Andy Griffith, his film roles and career.
* “Facing The Past”- A half-hour 2005 documentary with cast and crew members from “A Face In The Crowd.” Topics include Elia Kazan and the characters, themes, politics of the film and more.

April 16, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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