Yes, yes, I know it's "Opus Magnum," an artist's greatest work. But I couldn't help myself, okay? And "A Face in The Crowd" is Andy Griffith's finest work, which is saying plenty. I'll be honest; I never heard of this movie until Keith Olbermann began comparing Glenn Beck(during Beck's metoric rise and fall at Fox News) with Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes. A quick irony break; in reality, Olbermann's crash and burn is much more reminiscent of Rhodes than Beck's career path.
In any event, Griffith is brilliant and he has a lot to work with. What struck me after watching this movie was Rhodes is the same jerk throughout. He seems relatively harmless at first, only because he has no power, no leverage. He's a drunk in jail with his guitar. The more power he gets (by becoming more popular, first on radio and then television) is he able to manipulate people on such a grand level. But his personal ability and desire to do it was always there.
The accepted theory is that "people change" with fame. The argument behind "Face" is that what Rhodes already was simply grows with his prominence. And Griffith is stunningly menacing in this role. Check it out Wednesday on TCM if you can.