The Front (1976)

PG   |    |  Drama


The Front (1976) Poster

In 1953, a cashier poses as a writer for blacklisted talents to submit their work through, but the injustice around him pushes him to take a stand.


7.3/10
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  • Woody Allen in The Front (1976)
  • Woody Allen in The Front (1976)
  • Woody Allen in The Front (1976)
  • Woody Allen in The Front (1976)
  • Woody Allen and Zero Mostel in The Front (1976)
  • Woody Allen and Zero Mostel in The Front (1976)

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Director:

Martin Ritt

Writer:

Walter Bernstein

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26 September 2006 | blanche-2
8
| A bookie/cashier becomes involved in the '50s Red Scare
Woody Allen is "The Front" for blacklisted television writers in the 1950s in a film also starring Zero Mostel, Herschel Bernardi, Andrea Marcovicci, and Michael Murphy. Several of the film's participants - director Ritt, writer Bernstein, actors Bernardi and Mostel, were themselves blacklisted.

Woody's character, Howard Prince, has moments of humor, but "The Front" is a drama, and a very good one. Prince agrees to front for a writer-friend and later takes on other blacklisted writers for money. Then comes the day that Prince himself is subpoenaed by the committee, and he has to make a decision about where he stands.

Along the way, Howard falls in love with a principled woman, Marcovicci, who becomes disgusted with the blacklist and quits her television job, and a pathetic comedian, Zero Mostel, who claims to have marched in a May Day parade and subscribed to a communist newspaper because he had a crush on a girl. Then he watches his career shrivel up.

I grew up in the '50s and remember the Red Scare very well, as in school we were always told that the Communists were coming. In Hollywood and Washington, it was believed that the Communists were here infiltrating our government, films, and television. Whether it was true or not is a separate issue from the persecution and hysteria that took place. Actress Lee Grant, for instance, was blacklisted because she went to a funeral of someone who had been accused of being a Communist. John Garfield, Kim Hunter, Gale Sondergaard, Mady Christians, Larry Parks - just a few of the actors blacklisted. There are many examples of people whose careers and lives were ruined because they had once attended a meeting to see what this political ideology was all about, or had a friend who was a Communist. Land of the free indeed.

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