Directed by Elia Kazan, this film shows the talents of Andy Griffith in a role few people today have seen him in: a no-good scoundrel. Griffith joins Patricia Neal, Anthony Franciosa, Walter Matthau, and Lee Remick in the telling of a tale that’s easy to watch and hard to forget.
Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes, played by Andy Griffith in his film debut, is a drunk who is found singing in a jail, but becomes a celebrity who’s drunk on power. Patricia Neal is Marcia Jeffries, the reporter who discovers this new country bumpkin star. Walter Matthau plays Mel Miller, Marcia’s friend who tries to talk sense to her and save her some heartache. Lee Remick makes her film debut as a baton twirling beauty who catches the eye of the powerful celebrity.
No one knew what would happen when Lonesome Rhodes made his radio debut after waking up on a jailhouse floor from a drunken binge. There was a lot of common sense in his funny sayings, but his audience didn’t realize he didn’t have the character to go with it.