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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Phil Sussman
...
Alfred Miller
...
Remak Ramsay ...
Hennessey
Marvin Lichterman ...
Myer Prince
Lloyd Gough ...
Delaney
...
Phelps
Joshua Shelley ...
Sam
Norman Rose ...
Howard's Attorney
...
Committee Counselor
...
Committee Chairman (as M. Josef Sommer)
...
Danny LaGattuta
...
T. V. Interviewer
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Storyline

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 | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

America's Most Unlikely Hero.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 September 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El testaferro  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though cast with two comedians, this picture was not a comedy, according to director Martin Ritt, who once said, "instead, what the audience will get is a film filled with bitterness and irony that reflect the ludicrousness of the time of the blacklist". See more »

Goofs

When Howard and Florence are walking down a NYC street, a woman wearing 70s fashions can be seen. See more »

Quotes

Hecky Brown: [Parting words to Howard] Take care of yourself. The water is full of sharks.
See more »

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Arena: Cinema (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Daisy Bell
(uncredited)
Written by Harry Dacre
[played during Old Gold commercial]
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User Reviews

Powerful and affecting film about the Blacklist.
6 March 1999 | by (Mountain View, Ca.) – See all my reviews

It's the 1950's, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has whipped America and especially Hollywood into an anti-communitst frenzy. Anyone who ever had ties to the left wing is persecuted and denied employment. Which means a big opportunity for Woody Allen (acting only, he didn't write or direct) to make a few bucks selling scripts written by blacklisted writers, being the "Front" of the title. Little does he know what he's getting into. Woody's masquerade starts as a favor to a pal in trouble and a chance for easy money, but it quickly snowballs into serious involvement with some very ugly things.

Great script and excellent performances by Allen and Andrea Marcovicci, but the film is lifted to terrifying heights by the magnificent Zero Mostel as a blacklisted comic. Every indignity and loss he faces is reflected in his wonderful face with a terrible sweet-natured dignity, you can see the weariness and hopelessness growing in his eyes scene by scene. His tragedy changes the lives of all the other characters, and makes the film the fine thing that it is.

There's a lot of wit and black humor in this film, but overall it's a very affecting tragedy, one with a fine, strong, yet hopeful ending.


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