A FACE IN THE CROWD (1957) B/W widescreen 125m dir: Elia Kazan
w/Andy Griffith (debut), Patricia Neal, Anthony Franciosa, Walter Matthau, Lee Remick, Percy Waram, Rod Brasfield, Charles Irving, Howard Smith, Paul McGrath
An excellent screenplay by Budd Schulberg (based on his short story "The Arkansas Traveler") is well-directed by Kazan and gives Andy Griffith the best role of his career as a backwoods, guitar-playing bum who becomes a national TV celebrity. Neal is equally as good as the TV producer who discovers and protects the "big man."
From The Movie Guide: "Director Elia Kazan and writer Budd Schulberg, who collaborated so effectively in ON THE WATERFRONT, again proved their ability to produce a raw, penetrating, and terrifying portrait of humanity in A FACE IN THE CROWD. Griffith, who had made a name for himself on Broadway with No Time for Sergeants, skyrocketed to fame after his performance as the vicious but fascinating Lonesome Rhodes --- capturing the character so well it would take him some time to live the role down. Neal is superb as the tough but vulnerable television producer snared by the hillbilly philosopher, and Matthau plays his cynical newsman to the hilt."