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The Front (1976)

PG | | Drama | January 1977 (Austria)
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.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Phil Sussman
Remak Ramsay ...
Francis X. Hennessey
Marvin Lichterman ...
Myer Prince
Herbert Delaney
William Phelps
Joshua Shelley ...
Sam - Resort Operator
Norman Rose ...
Committee Counselor
Committee Chairman (as M. Josef Sommer)
Danny LaGattuta
T.V. Interviewer


In the early 1950s Howard Prince, who works in a restaurant, helps out a black-listed writer friend by selling a TV station a script under his own name. The money is useful in paying off gambling debts, so he takes on three more such clients. Howard is politically pretty innocent, but involvement with Florence - who quits TV in disgust over things - and friendship with the show's ex-star - now himself blacklisted - make him start to think about what is really going on. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What if there were a list? A list that said: Our finest actors weren't allowed to act. Our best writers weren't allowed to write. What would it be like if there were such a list. It would be like America in 1953. See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

January 1977 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

El testaferro  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some movie posters for this film featured a long text preamble that read: "What if there were a list? A list that said: Our finest actors weren't allowed to act. Our best writers weren't allowed to write. Our funniest comedians weren't allowed to make us laugh. What would it be like if there were such a list? It would be like America in 1953." See more »


Investigator Hennessey (as his name is spelled in the credits) is shown sitting at his desk on which there is a nameplate which reads Francis K. Hennessy. See more »


Howard Prince: [to his attorney] I - I still don't see why we can't fix it. You know what I me...? Pay somebody off 'cau - 'cause how much cou-could it cost, you know, 'cause they're just Congressmen?
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Crazy Credits

During the credits the people involved with the movie who were blacklisted are listed along with the year they were blacklisted. See more »


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »


Come On Daisy
Music by Carrie Hoffman
Lyrics by Ira Gassman
Performed by Zero Mostel
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User Reviews

A bookie/cashier becomes involved in the '50s Red Scare
26 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

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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