A Face in the Crowd is a 1957 film starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau, directed by Elia Kazan. The screenplay was written by Budd Schulberg, based on his short story “Your Arkansas Traveler”.
The story centers on a drifter named Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Griffith, in a role starkly different from the amiable “Sheriff Andy Taylor” persona), who is discovered by the producer (Neal) of a small-market radio program in rural northeast Arkansas. Rhodes ultimately rises to great fame and influence on national television.
In late 1950s America, when television was rapidly replacing radio as the most popular entertainment medium, a drunken drifter, Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith), is plucked out of a rural Arkansas jail by Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal) to sing on a radio show. His raw voice, folksy humor and personal charm bring about a strong local following, and he lands a television show in Memphis, Tennessee. With the support of the show’s staff Mel Miller (Matthau) and Jeffries, the charismatic Rhodes ad libs his way to popularity. When he pokes fun at his sponsor, a mattress company, they fire him—but his adoring audience revolts, burning mattresses in the street. The sponsor discovers that Rhodes’s irreverent pitches actually increased sales by 55%, and he is returned to the air with a new knowledge of his power of persuasion. Rhodes also begins an affair with Jeffries.
They had the 50th anniversary of the picture being made in Piggott a few years ago. Mrs. Neal made it to the anniversary which is pretty cool.
If you get a chance to watch it, I think you will see another side of Andy Griffith.
Most of the extras were from Piggott.