A Face in the Crowd

Man, were they naïve in 1957.

Or, too hopeful.

As depicted in this still-powerful film, people back then apparently believed that if a sweet-talkin’, truth-abusing con man really told the American people how much he hated them, that his career and ill-gotten gains would vanish overnight.

Today, we know better.

Find enough idiots, and it won’t matter how many times you vent your spleen in front of a microphone — idiots will still believe the lie.

Give director Elia Kazan and star Andy Griffith (playing against type) credit — they made a mesmerizing fantasy.

Too bad real life doesn’t always reflect their faith.

On the Waterfront

It never ages.

It’s been 66 years since Marlon Brando first raged in the backseat of a cab, telling Rod Steiger, “I coulda’ had class. I coulda’ been a contender. I could’ve been somebody,” and none of the power has drained from the scene.

Corruption swirling around him, beat-down boxer Terry Malloy is a lone man standing against the wolves who run the docks, his only true friends the pigeons who can’t backtalk him.

It’s a master class in method acting, played out in gorgeous, moody black and white.

One of the few times the Oscars got it right, really right.