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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.

Director:

Martin Ritt
Reviews
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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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

Color:

Black and White | Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In addition to the fact that they had both been blacklisted, actors Zero Mostel (Hecky Brown) and Herschel Bernardi (Phil Sussman) had both played the lead role of Tevye the Dairyman in the original Broadway production of the musical Fiddler on the Roof: Mostel originated the role in 1964, while Bernardi assumed the role in 1967. In 2015, Herschel Bernardi's son Michael C. Bernardi made his Broadway debut playing Mordcha the Inkeeper (and understudy to the role of Tevye) in a revival of Fiddler on the Roof. See more »

Goofs

An establishing shot up the Bowery to the Peter Cooper statue (before the script exchange) doesn't include the El tracks, which would have still been present until the Third Avenue El made its last run in May 1955. See more »

Quotes

Howard Prince: Where are you from?
Florence Barrett: Connecticut.
Howard Prince: That's very ritzy.
Florence Barrett: It's very proper anyway. I was very well bred - the kind of family where the biggest sin was to raise your voice.
Howard Prince: Oh yeah? In my family the biggest sin was to pay retail.
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 I Am Woody (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Anything for a Laugh
Music by Carrie Hoffman
Lyrics by Ira Gassman
Performed by Zero Mostel
See more »

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User Reviews

Powerful and affecting film about the Blacklist.
6 March 1999 | by otterSee 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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