Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Face in the Crowd

A handful of movies captured the shock of the new when TV was, in fact, new. “A Face in the Crowd” is one of them. Never seen it before; am seeing it tonight. Screenplay, directing, cinematography, acting, editing, and the ideas behind it all. Wow. Andy Griffith’s performance as the wannabe Hillbilly Hitler is most amazing of all. It’s the role of a lifetime. Today, we remember him as lovable Sherriff Andy Taylor. Here, he’s just as lovable. The same aw shucks grin and sparkling eyes. But his just folks persona hides a dark heart. Griffith nailed the character's contradiction; the seduction of persona; the seduction of your own BS. Without the energy he brought to the part, the movie would’ve been a flat, high-minded allegory. Griffith made it real – because the man, in fact, had charisma. He never hit this level again. But for a level this high? Once in a lifetime, really, is enough.

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