Part of Weekend Classics: Politics in B&W.
Up first: an allegoric tale of the effects of power on the human soul. In his first on-screen role, Andy Griffith stars as belligerent but charismatic Arkansas drifter Lonesome Rhodes, whose discovery by talent scout Marcia Jeffires (Patricia Neal) and appearance on a local radio show sets him on a rapid trajectory to fame and notoriety. As Rhodes gets a taste of the good life, his hunger for the limelight takes an increasingly desperate turn. Elia Kazan’s masterful critique of the media and the cult of celebrity never ceases being relevant.
"Lonesome Rhodes, the two-faced hero, is pretty much the whole show, and what he symbolizes in society is barely hinted—or discreetly overlooked… Mr. Schulberg has penned a powerful person of the raw, vulgar, roughneck, cornball breed, and Mr. Griffith plays him with thunderous vigor, under the guidance of Mr. Kazan." —Bosley Crowther, New York Times (May 29, 1957)