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Trailers from Hell: Josh Olson on Kazan's Biting Masterpiece 'A Face in the Crowd'

Photo of Trailers From Hell By Trailers From Hell | Thompson on Hollywood November 5, 2012 at 12:25PM

Elia Kazan Week! begins at Trailers from Hell with screenwriter Josh Olson introducing Elia Kazan's brilliant and bitter showbiz sendup "A Face in the Crowd," starring a never-better Andy Griffith as charismatic, monstrous media sensation Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes.
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A Face in the Crowd
'A Face in the Crowd'

Elia Kazan Week! begins at Trailers from Hell with screenwriter Josh Olson introducing Elia Kazan's brilliant and bitter showbiz sendup "A Face in the Crowd," starring a never-better Andy Griffith as charismatic, monstrous media sensation Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes.

Elia Kazan's lacerating portrait of a down home demagogue has never lost its disturbing relevance. Anchored by a ferocious performance by Andy Griffith, Budd Schulberg's media-savvy satire, based on his story "The Arkansas Traveler", has survived countless attempts to remake it over the years, largely because its 50s-centric setting is the perfect background to expose the pernicious effect television has had on the US political system. VITA-PIG says, "Is it election day yet?"  Lee Remick is memorably lubricious in her film debut.

This article is related to: Trailers from Hell, Video, Classics


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.