A Face in the Crowd, screenplay written by Budd Schulberg based on his story
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
A Face in the Crowd is on the New York Times' Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list.
And it is an excellent work.
It has a powerful, complex character at the center:
- Larry 'Lonesome' Rhodes
He reminds me of Elmer Gantry, The Apostle and a good number of films with a charismatic, powerful, influential man towering over all the rest...
Although different in many ways, Malcolm X also comes to mind.
It could also be seen as the emblematic American Dream.
The destitute man becomes rich and powerful.
Only he has something from yet another narrative:
- Being There, with Peter Sellers
In that one, Chaunce was a simple gardener, who knew nothing of the world, except what he saw on television.
Lonesome Rhodes knows some more, but he is still an uneducated redneck, who cannot utter a sentence without making a couple of mistakes.
Marcia Jeffries is a radio host and she is doing a program in...prison when she finds the man who had been arrested for disorderly conduct.
He was drunk and he is still recovering.
Marcia has a talent to discover potential in people.
And this man, who is baptized, discovered and launched by this great woman, becomes an overnight success.
Given his skills and folksy charm, the audience responds and advertising follows.
Only in his early days as a celebrity, Lonesome is idealistic.
He actually makes fun at the mattresses he is supposed to promote.
A Television station in Memphis is interested in the services of this rising star.
He is offered an exceptional salary that he raises to $4,000 a week, which could be $100,000 in today's money.
Still not sensational, given that superstars get multimillion dollar contracts for late night shows and the like.
As he becomes more famous, Lonesome Rhodes changes.
Or maybe these had been his true colors all along.
He might just show his flaws.
Or this is a combination of factors.
They say that...
- Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
After reaching a climax, a zenith, there is no stopping this zealous, incredibly determined man.
He wants to influence politics.
Starts teaching a senator who wants to be president how to manipulate crowds.
Lonesome pretends, maybe he believes he is in love with Marcia.
He says he wants to marry her.
Only we discover he is already married.
And he likes philandering and consorting with various women.
Walter Matthau has one of his early roles in this film.
He is one of my favorite actors.
A Face in the Crowd is yet another great work from the director Elia Kazan.