A Face in the Crowd (Elia Kazan, 1957)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents A Face in the Crowd.

Before he brought Mayberry, North Carolina, into American homes and became an icon of moral rectitude as Sheriff Andy Taylor, Andy Griffith burst onto cinema screens as Lonesome Rhodes, a charismatic drifter with a canny, down-home wit and an avaricious taste for status and influence. After charming Arkansas radio reporter Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal) and becoming a local media star, Rhodes leverages his growing popularity into national television fame and a trusted position among political and industrial power-brokers. Gradually Rhodes is corrupted by his own success and his laid-back attitude gives way to a monstrous off-camera personality. With stand-out supporting performances by Walter Matthau, Anthony Franciosa, and Lee Remick, director Elia Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg create a roaring statement against grassroots fascism, advertising fakery, and the pernicious influence of television on the political process.

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Hud (Martin Ritt, 1963)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Hud.

criterion logoPaul Newman is Hud Bannon, the man with the barbed-wire soul, a charismatic hellion tearing through his small, Texas panhandle town in his pink Cadillac and seducing the local housewives.  His reckless and unscrupulous behavior is tolerated by his principled father Homer (Melvyn Douglas) and their weary housekeeper Alma (Patricia Neal), and admired by his teenage nephew Lonnie (Brandon deWilde).  When hoof-and-mouth disease threatens their entire herd, a bitter struggle ensues over control of the ranch and their livelihood with Lonnie in the middle.  Garnering 7 Academy Award nominations and wins by actors Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas and cinematographer James Wong Howe, Hud is a beautifully stark depiction of generational conflict and an unforeseen measure of the changing culture in America.

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