A Face in the Crowd

A Face in the Crowd (1957) movie poster

(1957) dir. Elia Kazan
viewed: 07/31/2005

Elia Kazan.

A Face in the Crowd is truly a figment of its period. When Hollywood was making films with pretty overt political tones. Well, anyways, when some films were getting made with strong political commentaries. Kazan is extremely pedantic, though he’s great filmmaker and can often really create powerful characters and sequences, scenes of great impact.

Andy Griffith is pretty amazaing in this film, such a twisted, dark version of the character that he is widely accepted as having portrayed both on television and real life. He’s brash and nasty and harshly cruel. It’s a compelling performance and loaded material, the rise of power in the cult of personality. Seems timely in many ways, outdated in others. An interesting comparison piece for this film might be Bulworth (1998), as it’s almost an antithesis though primed on many similar pumps.

It’s rich fodder and it is interesting to bring into contemporary modes. There are many montage sequences that have a poppy feel, featuring advertising bits that give it an almost pop-arty feel at times. One can see why it’s considered a classic, but I am not up for serious analysis at this point.

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