Meanwhile, over in Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg's A Face in the Crowd, Andy Griffith (in a scorching performance that I'd wager a fair amount of the population isn't even aware he ever gave) plays Lonesome Rhodes, whose first moment on-camera shows him giving such a nasty, mean-dog look to his wards at a dusty old Southern jailhouse, that it's not hard to see that his good-old-boy demeanor, when faced with interested journalist Patricia Neal, hides a pretty grimy soul. Like his spiritual cousin Stan Carlisle, Rhodes is about to rise to the top, putting on a sweet face and exhuding down-home charm, and rising up through radio and into television, as a beloved, influential Will Rogers-type, with a heart of coal. What's interesting is that Tyrone Power had such an open, nice face, when he needed it, and he's such a gregarious fellow in the early going of Nightmare Alley. Carlisle is one of those guys, like the anti-heroes (which is being kind) of Donald E. Westlake's novel The Hook, who are more or less perfectly content to live their lives as decent human beings, until the opportunity for advancement forces them to realize that they're actually pure bastards -- they'd just never gotten their shot before. One is tempted to say the same thing about Andy Griffith and Lonesome Rhodes, but A Face in the Crowd actually preceded The Andy Griffith Show, after which point Griffith was nationally embraced as a sweet father and wise and funny Southern gentleman. Prior to his turn as Rhodes, Griffith did have success as a comedian and actor, and this was played on for A Face in the Crowd, but what a bombshell it would have been had the film come out in the mid-60s, when his hit (deservedly so) TV show was in full swing. The point is, Power feels like a gentle soul in Nightmare Alley's first half, and Griffith doesn't. We know Andy Griffith, of all people, is no good in his film. Power's shift towards casual amorality is more of a shock, though Nightmare Alley's colorful, shading into grotesque, early carnival setting does almost act as that film's version of Griffith's feral expresion. In any event, both men, Carlisle and Rhodes, do maintain a level of humanity, or try to, throughout each film, but they need a hot piece of ass to kick their hearts in gear (this works better for Carlisle than it does for Rhodes), and even then they have to throw someone else over in order to get started. But mainly, they want power, and money. Each is willing to pervert, or manipulate, grand American themes -- faith in Nightmare Alley, basic human values as it applies to the political process in A Face in the Crowd -- to do it, and each man gets their hash settled pretty good as a result. At least they got to enjoy their place at the top of the carnival for a little while.