When radio producer Neal discovers the homespun philosophy and musical talents of Griffith's Lonesome Rhodes in an Arkansas jail, she little knows that the hobo she's about to launch on a massively successful television career is going to turn into a monstrous national demagogue, not only cherished by his public but listened to by politicians. In the opening scenes of Kazan and writer Budd Schulberg's satire on the dangers of television and advertising, Griffith's virtuoso, likeably irreverent performance makes for genuinely amusing viewing; but once he's mixing with the bigwigs, the film-makers' political messages start flying thick and fast, and the drama soon becomes overheated and unconvincing. Nor is it politically sophisticated: as in late-'30s Capracorn, the ordinary 'little people' are presented as being so gullible that what starts out as a seemingly liberal tract rapidly becomes a smug, cynical exercise in misanthropy.
Cast and crew
Andy Griffith Patricia Neal Anthony Franciosa Lee Remick Walter Matthau Kay Medford Burl Ives Rip Torn