A Face in the Crowd (film)

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A Face in the Crowd (1957 poster).jpg
Andy Griffith as Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes and Patricia Neal as Marcia Jeffries.

A Face in the Crowd is a 1957 film about an Arkansas hobo who becomes an overnight media sensation. But as he becomes drunk with fame and power, will he ever be exposed as the fraud he has become?

Directed by Elia Kazan. Written by Budd Schulberg, based on his short story "Your Arkansas Traveler".
POWER! He loved it! He took it raw in big gulpfuls...he liked the taste, the way it mixed with the bourbon and the sin in his blood!

Lonesome Rhodes[edit]

  • Ain't Mama a beauty? Oh, a guitar beats a woman every time! You know, I never have seen a woman I could trust like this old guitar. I love my Mama guitar. She's always there waitin' for me to pick her up and hold her. Never asks me for money or goes cheatin' around when I ain't lookin'. And if she gets a little sour, why, I just give her a little twist like so, and we're right back in tune together.
  • You know, ma'am, whenever a bunch of fellas like us - outcasts, hoboes, nobodies, gentlemen loafers, one-time or all-time losers, call us what you want to. Whenever we get together, we tell our funny stories. Me and Beanie and the rest of these hand-to-mouth tumbleweed boys like you see in here. [singing] If whiskey don't get us, then women must. And it looks like I'm never gonna cease my wandering.
  • You know, back in my little old town of Riddle, we had a cousin named Harry. We all called him Cousin 'Hurry' because he was always runnin' someplace. Till one day he fell down a flight of steps and broke his fool neck. We put a sign on his grave says: 'He was in such a hurry, he just couldn't wait to get here.'
  • [to Marcia, as they leave Pickett for Memphis] Boy, am I glad to shake that dump. [pause] I was only kiddin', honey. You ought to know me better than to believe everything I say. Ha! [to the crowd] Bye! Bye! Good-bye and God bless you, good people!
  • Ain't nothin' in this world you can't do when you let the best side of you take over.
  • Respect? Did you ever hear of anyone buying any product - beer, hair rinse, tissue - because they respect it? You gotta be loved, man. Loved....Politics is people...Senator, I'm a professional. And I have to look at the image on that screen same as I'd look at a performer on my show. And I'll have to say he'll never get over to my audience. Not to the 65 million people who welcome me into their living rooms each week. And if I wouldn't buy him, do you realize what that means? If I wouldn't buy him, the people of this country aren't ready to buy him for that big job on Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • I'm not just an entertainer. I'm an influence, a wielder of opinion, a force... a force!

Marcia Jeffries[edit]

  • They love his voice, they love his guitar, they love his ideas... they should know some of his ideas.

Mel Miller[edit]

  • [about the writers] Here you see the lepers of the great television industry. Men without faces. Why, they even slide our paychecks under the door so they can pretend we're not here.
  • [about TV] You gotta be a saint to stand off the power that little box can give you.
  • Didn't you know? All mild men are vicious. They hate themselves for being mild, and they hate the windy extroverts whose violence seems to have a strange attraction for nice girls. You should know better.
  • [about Lonesome Rhodes] I'll say one thing for him, he's got the courage of his ignorance.

Dialogue[edit]

Marcia Jeffries: You put your whole self into that laugh, don't you?
Lonesome Rhodes: Marcia, I put my whole self into everything I do.

Abe Steiner: I'm one of the oldest theatrical agents in the Mid-South. I book a lot of acts for the Grand Ole Opry. Now, I discovered Hank Snow and Webb Pierce. And the first morning I heard you, I said to myself, 'Abe Steiner, that man's got power. Not just catchy songs and funny stories. Power.' How would you like to come to Memphis, son?...Mr. Rhodes, you put me in mind of Will Rogers when he first came to Memphis. I can make you a star, boy, if you put yourself in my hands.
Lonesome Rhodes: Shucks, mister, I'm just a country boy. I ain't even sure I wanna stay in this danged old radio business.

General Haynesworth: Rhodes, I want you to get to know people like that. I'd like to sort of take you under my wing and educate you.
Lonesome Rhodes: Heh. Shucks, General, I'm just a country boy.
General Haynesworth: Young man, never forget Will Rogers. He was just a gum-chewing, rope-twirling cowboy. But he got to where he was telling off presidents and kings.
Joey DePalma: General, my thinking is the second section of the same train.
General Haynesworth: I've always gone in for long-range planning. Right now, Lonesome is merely popular. Oh, very popular. But Lonesome Rhodes could be made into an influence, a wielder of opinion. An institution positively sacred to this country, like the Washington Monument. I suspect your idealistic young lady disagrees with me. But my study of history has convinced me that in every strong and healthy society from the Egyptians on, the mass had to be guided with a strong hand by a responsible elite. Let us not forget that in TV, we have the greatest instrument for mass persuasion in the history of the world.

Lonesome Rhodes: Look at all them TV aerials sticking up like branches down there. There's a whole forest of 'em from here to San Diego. All of 'em waitin' to hear what I got to say.
Marcia Jeffries: Is that what you woke me up in the middle of the night for?
Lonesome Rhodes: Marcia, what I'm tryin' to say is, all of them millions of people believin' in me, doin' what I tell 'em to, scares me. Honest. General and all them big shots tryin' to educate me.
Marcia Jeffries: Educate you or use you?
Lonesome Rhodes: That's it, see? The General says our country needs me. I'm supposed to be an influence. That's mighty tall grass, Marcia. We're gettin' in deep, Marcia. A thousand times deeper than we ever dreamed when we were startin' out in Arkansas. I know on the set, I'm beginnin' to act like I just ate the Western Hemisphere for breakfast. But then, down here in the boiler room, I know I need advice. Not the kind I get from Joey or the Madison Avenue high-domes who say 'gesundheit' before I even pucker up to sneeze. No. And now, when I'm comin' to the top of the mountain, I need you, because you level with me. You're my lifeline to truth, and... Well, marry me, Marcia - will ya? That's what I called you over here for. Can't keep anything alive up here. [He snaps off a dead rose stem] Dust in this city kills everythin'.
Marcia Jeffries: Larry, don't play with me. Don't hurt me. (She pulled his downcast head up by the hair) Don't hurt me.

Marcia Jeffries: You always drink like that?
Lonesome Rhodes: Not always. Back in Riddle they was pretty strict. Didn't allow us to touch hard liquor till we was 10 or 11.
Marcia Jeffries: Now is there really a town called Riddle?
Lonesome Rhodes: Well, tell you the flat truth, it's just a sort of a whatchacallit, a...
Marcia Jeffries: ...Composite?
Lonesome Rhodes: Compost heap's more like it.

Lonesome Rhodes: I was afraid to marry you, and that's the truth. The dirt-root, cotton-pickin' truth.
Marcia Jeffries: Last time, you said you were afraid not to.
Lonesome Rhodes: Both were true. You sort of overawe me. You know more than I do. I can feel you being so gol-darned critical all the time. You and that smart-alecky Mel. And you don't really approve of me. That's so, ain't it?
Marcia Jeffries: You're gettin' to be all the things you used to harpoon.
Lonesome Rhodes: See what I mean? The bigger I get, the smaller you make me feel. You take Betty Lou...
Marcia Jeffries: Larry, don't try to explain. Betty Lou is your public, all wrapped up with yellow ribbons into one cute little package. She's the logical culmination of the great 20th-century love affair between Lonesome Rhodes and his mass audience.
Lonesome Rhodes: Well, I wish you wasn't so bitter.
Marcia Jeffries: I'm not bitter. If I sound stridently female about Miss Drum Majorette, I don't mean to be. I knew you married her just as a way of not marryin' me.
Lonesome Rhodes: Look, Marcia, I'm not forgettin' what I owe ya. I'm gonna give ya a healthy slice of our whole operation. Say, ten percent of my end. And you won't have to lift your finger with what I'm givin' you.
Marcia Jeffries: Givin' me? Givin' me? You're not givin' me anything. And you're not throwin' me off the train like poor Abe Steiner, either. A Face in the Crowd was my idea. The whole idea of Lonesome Rhodes belongs to me. I always should've been an equal partner. Well, now I'm gonna be an equal partner. I'm gonna get somethin' I deserve....AND I WANT IT ON PAPER!
Lonesome Rhodes: Okay. All right. I'll tell Joey to draw up the papers. Look at yourself in the mirror, Marcia. You'll see a millionaire.

Lonesome Rhodes: This whole country's just like my flock of sheep!
Marcia Jeffries: Sheep?
Lonesome Rhodes: Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus, shut-ins, pea-pickers - everybody that's got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle. They don't know it yet, but they're all gonna be 'Fighters for Fuller'. They're mine! I own 'em! They think like I do. Only they're even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for 'em. Marcia, you just wait and see. I'm gonna be the power behind the president - and you'll be the power behind me! You made me, Marcia. You made me. I always say that. I owe it all to you. I owe it all to you.
Marcia Jeffries: I know it. I know it. I know it.

Actor on Rhodes' show: [about Senator Fuller] You really sell that stiff as a man among men?
Lonesome Rhodes: [thinking his microphone is off] Those morons out there? Shucks, I could take chicken fertilizer and sell it to them as caviar. I could make them eat dog food and think it was steak. Sure, I got 'em like this... You know what the public's like? A cage of Guinea Pigs. Good Night you stupid idiots. Good Night, you miserable slobs. They're a lot of trained seals. I toss 'em a dead fish and they'll flap their flippers.

Lonesome Rhodes: Listen, I'm not through yet. You know what's gonna to happen to me?
Mel Miller: Suppose I tell you exactly what's gonna happen to you. You're gonna be back in television. Only it won't be quite the same as it was before. There'll be a reasonable cooling-off period and then somebody will say: "Why don't we try him again in a inexpensive format. People's memories aren't too long." And you know, in a way, he'll be right. Some of the people will forget, and some of them won't. Oh, you'll have a show. Maybe not the best hour or, you know, top 10. Maybe not even in the top 35. But you'll have a show. It just won't be quite the same as it was before. Then a couple of new fellas will come along. And pretty soon, a lot of your fans will be flocking around them. And then one day, somebody'll ask: "Whatever happened to, a, whatshisname? You know, the one who was so big. The number-one fella a couple of years ago. He was famous. How can we forget a name like that? Oh by the way, have you seen, a, Barry Mills? I think he's the greatest thing since Will Rogers."

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
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