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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

TCM to Honor Andy Griffith

Andy Griffith will undoubtedly be forever remembered as the amiable country man of the law he made famous on his popular self titled television show. And by all means, let no one doubt that Sheriff Taylor is a fine character with which any actor would be happy to be associated. However, if that is your only knowledge of the recently deceased actor then you don’t know what you’re missing. To really experience Griffith at his best, and to see the true breadth of his impressive capabilities as an actor you have to watch his 1957 big screen debut, A Face in the Crowd.

Brace yourself for your first viewing of the Elia Kazan directed drama. Griffith is simply unlike anything you could possibly imagine. He will shock and surprise you with his portrayal of a man who is such a complete and complicated character, full of flaws and wickedly cunning. It’s simply bewildering that he was not nominated for an Academy Award for his bravado turn as a shiftless wanderer who manipulates everyone in his rise as a country folk hero. It wasn’t a particularly challenging year as far as performances go, although there were some real heavy weights (the winner Alec Guinness, Marlon Brando, Anthony Quinn) vying for the prize, and Griffith was a complete newcomer. Still, it is an Academy Award worthy performance - an apt appraisal with which I’m sure you will agree upon viewing.

No doubt revival houses everywhere will be scrambling to adjust their schedules in order to accommodate special screenings in honor of Griffith’s passing. And of course, A Face in the Crowd is popular enough to be found via NetFlix and other online venues. The classic movie channel, TCM will also be featuring the 1957 classic in its own four-film memorial tribute Wednesday, July 18 at 5:00PM (PST), followed by three other Andy Griffith films (a complete schedule can be seen by using the image above as a link to the TCM website). Whatever your method of viewing be sure not to miss out on A Face in the Crowd. With the exceptional direction of Elia Kazan and the support of fellow actors Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau and Lee Remick, the film remains an exceptional highlight of 1950s filmmaking, and a fine testament to the talent of a man who was beloved by generations of fans.

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