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.

Director:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Woody Allen ... Howard Prince
Zero Mostel ... Hecky Brown
Herschel Bernardi ... Phil Sussman
Michael Murphy ... Alfred Miller
Andrea Marcovicci ... Florence Barrett
Remak Ramsay Remak Ramsay ... Francis X. Hennessey
Marvin Lichterman Marvin Lichterman ... Myer Prince
Lloyd Gough ... Herbert Delaney
David Margulies ... William Phelps
Joshua Shelley Joshua Shelley ... Sam - Resort Operator
Norman Rose Norman Rose ... Howard's Attorney
Charles Kimbrough ... Committee Counselor
Josef Sommer ... Committee Chairman (as M. Josef Sommer)
Danny Aiello ... Danny LaGattuta
Georgann Johnson ... 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 {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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 »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of around twenty-five film collaborations between Woody Allen and producer Robert Greenhut, who would become a regular producer of Allen's movies. See more »

Goofs

When Howard and Florence kiss in the park, the bi-level George Washington Bridge can be seen in the background. In c. 1953 when this movie takes place, the bridge had only one level. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in Hollywood on Trial (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
A bookie/cashier becomes involved in the '50s Red Scare
26 September 2006 | by blanche-2See 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1977 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

The Front See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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