A Face in the Crowd

Director: Elia Kazan
Year Released: 1957
Rating: 2.5

Rags to riches stories are a dime a dozen in Hollywood (as are tales of how fame brings out the worst in people). Considering both of these topics are familiar to most movie-watching audiences, this is simply a case of the 'same old' story. A reporter (Patricia Neal in a very good performance) visiting a jail in some nowhere town meets Lonesome Rhodes (Andy Griffith, in an obnoxious over-the-top performance), gives him a spot on her radio station and he becomes a star, progressing further up the 'fame ladder' until he has his own TV show and, consequently, a plethora of rabid fans. What I can't seem to understand is how a goofy, irritating character like Rhodes could ever capture such attention and adoration from so many; he seems so damn repellent (the film suggests that it's because he "tells it like it is" and is the "voice of reason". It chronicles his rise and descent and is tolerable for the first and second acts before completely falling apart in the third act.