Andy Griffith: Before Mayberry, A Movie Monster

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25 Responses to “Andy Griffith: Before Mayberry, A Movie Monster”

  1. He did some dark roles later in his career (including some creepy villains) but nothing to match Lonesome Rhodes.  It’s a pity this movie is so little known considering that there are way too many real-life Rhodes types out there now.  

  2. Gyrofrog says:

    As I mentioned in the other thread, the DVD extras allow one to hear/see Andy say “fuck”. Man did I feel all grown up after that…

  3. ab167 says:

    I came home planning to look this film up after hearing about it on NPR today. I’ll definitely be seeking it out after watching this trailer.

  4. The best movie in the world!
    He also played a small but very funny part in “Daddy and Them” with bb.thorton.

    • Nagurski says:

       ‘Daddy and Them’ is actually the best movie in the world since John Prine is also in it. It’s a pretty funny movie, and besides it just made me giggle to hear ‘Ange’ say words like cornhole.

  5. BDiamond says:

    I was unaware of this film until I saw it on TCM about three years ago. WOW! I had to completely re-evaluate my opinion of Andy Griffith. Truly his first role was his best role, ever.

  6. Roy Trumbull says:

    I saw this when it came out. It’s a favorite. When he begins to wield power the right-wing can’t suck up to him fast enough. True then; true now.

  7. Geoduck says:

    Griffith commented that his avoiding such roles in his later career was no accident; he felt that playing Rhodes took him to some dark places that he preferred to avoid.

  8. I remember seeing Murder in Coweta  County when I was 13 and being disturbed at seeing Andy Griffith being evil.

  9. woollywumble says:

    I grew up loving Ange and Mayberry and only discovered “A Face in the Crowd” a few years ago.  I grabbed everybody I knew and made them watch it.  Everything Andy does in this film is so believable and true, it is hard to believe that they would have given him the part of the sheriff of Mayberry after seeing Lonesome Rhodes–Barney wouldn’t have lasted long in Lonesome’s entourage.

  10. lakelady says:

    Set your DVRs, TCM is broadcasting it at 1:45 AM on Friday. I don’t know if this is Eastern time or if TCM changes in differing time zones so check your listings

  11. I had a fantastic PoliSci professor who realized after many years of delivering lectures that students remembered films they saw better than lectures he gave, and so, after telling us during our first meeting to return our text book, he promptly loaded this film into the DVD machine and told us it was better than the first chapter on the electoral process. The second film he showed us, to illustrate media in politics, was Network. Both films still hold up well, but this one definitely affected my view of Andy Griffith and concept of Americana. 

    • penguinchris says:

      Network is much more famous, perhaps largely because of the line “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore”, but I don’t think it’s held up very well.

      A lot of it – maybe 2/3 – is excellent, especially most of the acting, but the rest includes a lot of really heavy-handed satire that felt really trite and near-unwatchable to me (not to mention out of line with the tone of the rest of the film). I mean I realize the whole thing is satire, but it combines what you might call “serious” satire (the successful part of the film) with silly satire along the lines of Woody Allen’s earliest films. The silly stuff is what doesn’t hold up (Allen’s early films are a mixed bag there too, but generally hold up well).

      A Face in the Crowd is such a great, important film because there’s really nothing that doesn’t hold up. There’s nothing to roll your eyes at – it’s transfixing all the way through. And when it hits you that nothing has changed, and politics is essentially the same today, it’s really unsettling. In that way it’s actually gotten better over time.

      What I actually meant to reply to you about was how your professor ran that class – I had a history professor I took three courses from on various aspects of Japanese history who showed us Japanese feature films every week (and gave lectures to support them and to correct major inaccuracies). The course on the samurai was especially great. For many humanities/social science type topics it’s a great, very effective approach.

  12. kiptw says:

    I’d consider his amiable rube in NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS a sort of monster as well. Just ask the Sarge! Still, A FACE IN THE CROWD has been a favorite of mine since I first taped it off the TV.

    I’d also throw in his performance as the bad-guy rancher (who has the misfortune of being the only nearly sane person in the featured cast) in RUSTLER’S RHAPSODY. It’s a fun, cardboard movie that plays with bent western stereotypes, and Griffith brings hilarious depth to his personation. A YouTube clip (a short scene numbered 3/9) shows him at work, and sets up the funniest gag in the movie, which is presumably in another clip.

    I’d love for TCM to show all three of these. (Is there a recording of the US Steel Hour version of “No Time for Sergeants” out there?)

    • Jeff says:

       The US Steel Hour version of “No Time for Sergeants” is on the Criterion box set, “The Golden Age of Television.”

  13. Kiddharma says:

    “A Face in the Crowd” is one of those rare movies that stands the test of time, thanks in no small parts to Elia Kazan’s directing, Budd Schulberg’s script, but especially Griffith’s jaw-dropping performance. One correction: the town Lonesome Rhodes is from is Piggott, Arkansas, not Pickett; I once new an english professor from Piggott who was a southern gentleman–and storyteller–of the first water. 
    Now Andy is truly “a free man in the morning”…

  14. Jonathan Badger says:

    I’m not sure if the phenomenon really has to do with television, After all, Huey Long (and his perhaps better known fictional equivalent Willie Stark of “All the King’s Men”) pulled off the folksy yokel with a sinister power streak act with nothing more than radio and personal appearances. This movie sounds like it basically *is* a remake of “All the Kings’ Men”, actually.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I’m not sure if the phenomenon really has to do with television, After all, Huey Long (and his perhaps better known fictional equivalent Willie Stark of “All the King’s Men”) pulled off the folksy yokel with a sinister power streak act with nothing more than radio and personal appearances.

      Even Clodius Pulcher and Julius Caesar were populares.

  15. CognitiveDissident says:

    Great movie!
    The corporate media must have used it as a recruiting template since then, how many talking heads/entertainers believe that they are more important than the entity that they work for, but they don’t act on that belief (even if they internally maintain that it is their choice, they CHOOSE not to…).

    It’s an amazing juggling act,  all they would have to do is to utter an original thought that speaks truth to power, but they rarely do that, because their ego is being expertly stroked. (“Say what’s on the teleprompter, and you get a very comfortable life and big check. I will choose to exercise my free will “tomorrow”.)

    • blue balaclava says:

       That reminds me… THE NEWSROOM, Sorkin’s joint, doesn’t really have a villain, does it?

      It can’t really have one, because the producers decided to stay with real events in 2010 — but how would they stand anyone as fierce as LR pissin’ in their Post Toasties?

  16. RLReevesJr says:

    A Face In The Crowd is unfathomably good but another one of Griffith’s efforts is well worth your time as well. Murder In Coweta County, a made for TV drama pits Griffith vs Johnny Cash in a Deep South struggle of good vs evil. Based on a true story too. It’s up on Youtube, in segments, but still worth a viewing session.

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