7.4/10
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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 <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

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 character of Hecky Brown portrayed by Zero Mostel was loosely based on real-life actor Philip Loeb who was a real-life personal friend of Mostel who had been black-listed and later committed suicide. See more »

Goofs

Investigator Hennessey (as his name is spelled in the credits) is shown sitting at his desk on which there is a nameplate which reads Francis K. Hennessy. See more »

Quotes

Howard Prince: Swimming's not a sport, swimming's what you do so that you shouldn't drown.
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

References Mogambo (1953) 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

 
Fronting For A Great Film ****
21 February 2006 | by edwagreenSee all my reviews

SPOILER: Woody Allen acts but does not direct this excellent depiction of the McCarthy Era blacklisting in "The Front."

He plays his typical neurotic way until he is asked to front for blacklisted writers. The money comes in and all is well for Allen.

We meet the people that he is fronting for. We also meet Zero Mostel, in an excellent supporting role, as a blacklisted comedian, Hecky Green, who begs for work and throws himself out a window as a result.The scene where Allen is afraid to attend his funeral, since the FBI is taping who is entering the funeral parlor, is memorable.

Allen is asked to appear before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee to name names. What he said in that scene will forever be etched in the minds of movie-goers.

A marvelously, well-acted movie on one of the greatest tragedies in our nation's history. This movie dealt with how blacklisting ruined the lives of so many people in the entertainment industry.

Walter Bernstein, who was blacklisted in real life, wrote the screenplay for this film. No wonder why it was so good. He wrote from personal experience and therefore from the heart.


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