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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
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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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1977 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

El testaferro 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

The meaning and relevance of this film's "The Front" title is that it referred to the practice during the period of the McCarthy era black-lists where banned writers went ghost-writing under pseudonyms and used other people's names for credits and billing whereby the other parties acted as a "front" for them. 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's Attorney: This friend of yours, Alfred Miller...
Howard Prince: We went to school together.
Howard's Attorney: And you had no idea that he was a Communist?
Howard Prince: He was only 12.
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 The Simpsons: The Front (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Daisy Bell
(uncredited)
Written by Harry Dacre
[played during Old Gold commercial]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Woody Allen Blacklisted!
25 September 2012 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In the 50's, in New York City, the screenplay writer Alfred Miller (Michael Murphy) meets his apolitical friend, the cashier of restaurant and smalltime bookmaker Howard Prince (Woody Allen) and tells him that he can not work anymore since he is blacklisted. Prince offers to sell his scripts to the producer of a TV station using his own name and Alfred offers a 10% commission to Prince.

Prince uses the money to pay his debts and improve his life and soon he offers his name to two other blacklisted writers. Meanwhile he dates the TV screenplay editor Florence Barrett (Andrea Marcovicci). When the veteran actor Hecky Brown (Zero Mostel) is blacklisted and fired by the producer Phil Sussman (Herschel Bernardi), the idealistic Florence quits her job. But when Hecky Brown commits suicide, Prince takes a stand against the unjust system.

Today I have just watched "The Front" on VHS maybe for the third or fourth time (last time was on 31 May 2002). This fairytale about the dark period of the North America history known as McCarthyism is wrongly categorized as "comedy" and is actually one of the most important and a serious movie by Woody Allen that perfectly works with the situation of a figurehead that realizes the damage caused by the Powers that Be to the careers and lives of his compatriots and decides to react against them.

Another attraction is that the director Martin Ritt; the writer Walter Bernstein and the stars Zero Mostel, Herschel Bernardi and Lloyd Gough had been blacklisted in the 50's. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Testa de Ferro por Acaso" ("Figurehead by Chance")


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