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Front, The (1976)

America's Most Unlikely Hero.

Original Title : Front, The
Director : Martin Ritt
Writer : Walter Bernstein
Genre : Comedy
Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Robert Greenhut , Charles H. Joffe , Martin Ritt , Jack Rollins
Music : Dave Grusin
Photography : Michael Chapman
IMDB ID : 0074554
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poster for "Front, The" by Martin Ritt (1976)
Front, The (1976) - Martin Ritt
 

Starring

Woody Allen Howard Prince
Zero Mostel Hecky Brown
Herschel Bernardi Phil Sussman
Michael Murphy Alfred Miller
Andrea Marcovicci Florence Barrett
Remak Ramsay Hennessey
Marvin Lichterman Myer Prince
Lloyd Gough Delaney
David Margulies Phelps
Joshua Shelley Sam
Norman Rose Howard's Attorney
Charles Kimbrough Committee Counselor
Josef Sommer Committee Chairman (as M. Josef Sommer
Danny Aiello Danny LaGattuta
Georgann Johnson TV Interviewer
Scott McKay Hampton
David Clarke Hubert Jackson
I.W. Klein Bank Teller
John Bentley Bartender
Julie Garfield Margo
Murray Moston Boss
MacIntyre Dixon Harry Stone (as McIntyre Dixon
Rudolph Willrich Tailman (as Rudolph Wilrich
Burt Britton Bookseller
Albert Ottenheimer School principal (as Albert M. Ottenheimer
William Bogert Parks
Joey Faye Waiter
Marilyn Sokol Sandy
John Slater T.V. director (as John J. Slater
Renee Paris Girl in Hotel Lobby
Gino Gennaro Stage Hand
Joan Porter Myer's Wife
Andrew Bernstein Alfred's child
Jacob Bernstein Alfred's child
Matthew Tobin Man At Party
Marilyn Persky His date
Sam McMurray Young Man At Party
Joe Jamrog FBI Man
Michael B. Miller FBI Man (as Michael Miller
Lucy Lee Flippin Nurse
Jack Davidson Congressman
Donald Symington Congressman
Pat McNamara Federal Marshal (as Patrick McNamara
Joe DiMaggio Himself (archive footage
Dwight D. Eisenhower Himself (with Lily Pons
Mamie Eisenhower Herself (with Lily Pons
Stephen Hayes Alfred's child (uncredited
Douglas MacArthur Himself (in tickertape parade
Joseph McCarthy Himself (at his wedding
Marilyn Monroe Herself (archive footage
Lily Pons Herself (with Pres. and Mrs. Eisenhower
Ethel Rosenberg Herself (archive footage
Julius Rosenberg Himself (archive footage
Harry S. Truman Himself (archive footage
 

Plot

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.
 

Comments

Powerful and affecting film about the Blacklist. 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.
 
poster for "Front, The"
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Front, The (1976) - Martin Ritt
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