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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 »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Howard Prince
... Hecky Brown
... Phil Sussman
... Alfred Miller
... Florence Barrett
Remak Ramsay ... Francis X. Hennessey
Marvin Lichterman ... Myer Prince
... Herbert Delaney
... William Phelps
Joshua Shelley ... Sam - Resort Operator
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 | Plot Synopsis

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America's Most Unlikely Hero. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

January 1977 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

El testaferro  »

Filming Locations:

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Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's director Martin Ritt once said of working with actor Zero Mostel whose character was based on Ritt's black-listed friend who suicided: "I think it had a special significance for all of us, and I include Woody in that, though obviously he [Woody Allen] wasn't blacklisted. I had a good time working with Z [Zero]. He could be difficult. He didn't always get along perfectly with Woody. But they respected each other". See more »

Goofs

The second taxi cab shown prominently is a mid-1970's Checker A12, as evidenced by the side reflectors and the large bumpers. The correct Checker for 1953 would be the model A6, which resembled late 1940's GM products. See more »

Quotes

Howard Prince: That's the trouble with you leftos. You have this thing about money.
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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 contra Franco (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

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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