Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But when the right actor finds the path straight into a corrupt soul on fire, a strange kind of joy erupts on screen — a sense of true discovery and excitement.
This is what
Like so many vital American pictures, "A Face in the Crowd" failed to find a wide popular audience in its initial release. But time has been good to it. A year later, in "No Time for Sergeants," Griffith proved a well-liked comic actor.
Griffith's Lonesome Rhodes is one of the great '50s icons of mass media sleaze. Kirk Douglas' madly exploiting reporter in "Ace in the Hole" (1951) is another. And in "Sweet Smell of Success" (1957), Burt Lancaster's
And all three endure.
The human monsters at their centers were made human by the actors lucky enough to play them.
If you haven't seen "A Face in the Crowd" in a while, or ever, this is the time. The time is always. There's always another Lonesome Rhodes coming along who bears watching.
Movies on the radio: Michael talks with Bill Leff in the 7 a.m. segment Friday on WGN-AM (720).