The setting of this film is the late 1950’s in the United States. Larry Rhodes is an itinerant Ozark guitar picker and he has been thrown in jail for drunkenness in Arkansas. Marcia Jeffries is a radio broadcaster and she comes to the jail to interview some of the men on the air. She interviews Rhodes and he is invited to sing on the radio show at station KGRK. He strikes a chord with the audience and he begins to have a following. He lands a spot on a television show in Memphis billed as Lonesome Rhodes. This show brings an offer to star on his own show in New York City. Rhodes begins to meet politicians and to influence the public.
The people who really know Rhodes see him as raw, vulgar, rough and cornball. When he begins to thirst for power, Marcia Jeffries wonders if she has unleashed a monster on the public? He hypnotizes the people watching his show and in person until Marcia takes matters into her own hands. 3 ½* (I liked this movie)
126 min, Drama directed by Elia Kazan with Any Griffith, Patricia Neal, Anthony Franciosa, Walter Matthau, Lee Remick, Percy Waram, Paul McGrath, Rod Brasfield, Marshall Neilan, Alexander Kirkland, Charles Irving.
Note: Imdb 8.2 out of 10, 92% critic 94% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, TCM Leonard Maltin 3.5* out of 4* average user 4.09* out of 5*, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 373 reviews.
Special Note: Filmed in Memphis, Tennessee; Paragould and Piggott, Arkansas; Los Angeles, California; New York City, New York. This is the film debut of Andy Griffith and Lee Remick. The character of Lonesome Rhodes was based on Arthur Godfrey, Huey Long, Will Rogers and Billy Graham. Patricia Neal returned to the screen after a four-year absence after an affair with Gary Cooper and a nervous breakdown. Marlon Brando was asked to play Rhodes but he refused the offer. On-location shooting was used to lower the cost of shooting in Hollywood.