A FACE IN THE CROWD, Andy Griffith, 1957, afitc1957-fsct05, Photo by:Everett Collection(afitc1957-fs
Credit: Everett Collection

A Face in the Crowd

This Friday, viewers across the country will have the opportunity to flip on their televisions to watch a power-hungry, media-savvy celebrity rise to megalomaniacal heights. We’re referring of course to Elia Kazan’s 1957 film A Face in the Crowd, which TCM will air in the hours after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

A darkly comic cautionary tale about the dangers of fame and politics intertwining, the film stars Andy Griffith as a plainspoken drifter who becomes a populist hero via radio and TV appearances. As his ambition, ego, and disdain for his audience grow, he begins to spin out of control and is ultimately brought down by a vitriolic rant caught on a hot microphone.

Against the backdrop of Trump’s unprecedented political ascent, A Face in the Crowd has frequently been compared to the trajectory of the former Apprentice star, in outlets including CNN, the Washington Post, the Ringer, Deadline Hollywood, and the AV Club.

According to a TCM spokesperson, however, the film was programmed as part of a tribute to the actress Patricia Neal, whose birthday coincides with Inauguration Day.

A Face in the Crowd will air Jan. 20 at 5:45 p.m. ET on TCM. Watch the trailer above.

A Face in the Crowd
  • Movie
  • 126 minutes