the whistle. They don’t know it yet, but they’re gonna be “fighters
for Fuller’ [the rightist politician who has paid enough money for his
support]. They’re mine! I own ‘em, Marcia, you just wait and see.
I’m gonna be the power behind the president—and you’ll be the
power behind me!
Once the author and director have established their likable figure as such a sham, there isn’t much more to say. There are wonderful moments of betrayal, DePalma’s sleazy interferences, Jeffries’ displaced love for her Frankenstein, and Betty Lou Fleckum’s (Lee Remick’s) flashy, baton twirling entwinement of herself with the errant lover (Jeffries: “Betty Lou is your public, all wrapped up with yellow ribbons into one cute little package. She’s the logical culmination of the great 20th-century love affair between Lonesome Rhodes and his mass audience.”)—but none of these can save the film from its dreadful tumble into misanthropy. Lonesome Rhodes, so the film proclaims—again and again and again—is a manipulator, a country hokum manufacturer of pure vulgar ignorance, worthy of the on-line betrayal by Jeffries of her would-be lover, turning up the volume (oh how many political figures have been just so betrayed by open mikes and evil-minded engineers) to reveal his description of his admirers as “idiots, morons, and guinea pigs.”