7.3/10
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65 user 49 critic

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:

America's Most Unlikely Hero. 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

Director Martin Ritt once said of this film: "Audiences go in expecting a Woody Allen comedy, and come out shattered." 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 only had one level. See more »

Quotes

Hecky Brown: [after gulping a glass of scotch] You know, I never learned how to sip a drink. When I was very little, every evening before supper my father would pour a shot glass full of whiskey, mumble a prayer,
[He emulates his father by mumbling in Yiddish]
Hecky Brown: and down it went! I thought that was the way you drank.
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

Featured in Hollywood contra Franco (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A film that looks HUAC straight in the eye and doesn't flinch
2 December 2003 | by FilmOtakuSee all my reviews

The Front tells the story of an average Joe Loser whose friend, a blacklisted television writer asks for his identity so he can continue working. Thus begins not only an acceptable scam, but a personal odyssey for this man, played by Woody Allen. He begins to be become a `front' for other blacklisted writers as well, presenting their material as his own. His evolution is such that while he began to do this mainly for his own profit, he ends up taking a stand on behalf of the blacklisted artists he knows and along the way, finding his own relevance in life.

While starring Woody Allen, the film was directed by Martin Ritt, a blacklisted artist himself. Additionally, it featured a blacklisted writer and several blacklisted actors, including Zero Mostel. There are definite comedic moments in the film, but they are generally limited to a line or the facial expression of a character, therefore I consider this to be a largely dramatic film. (Albeit light drama). Making a comedy about HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) and the Hollywood Blacklist is like offering a comedy about the Salem Witch Trails. Both events involved the destruction of the lives of the victims due to the paranoia and hysteria of their contemporary societies and neither subject is comic fodder.

Of the films centering on HUAC that I have seen, The Front is by far the most representative and most meaningful I have seen to date. The Front is a very important chronicle of a dark period in 20th century history and deserves the many accolades it has received.

--Shelly


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