The Front (1976)

The Front (1976)

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The Front Photos

Movie Info

Martin Ritt's The Front is a black-comedy about the McCarthy hearings of the '50s and the subsequent Hollywood blacklisting. Woody Allen plays a bookmaker who become "a front" for a group of blacklisted Hollywood screenwriters who aren't able to get a job, because of their alleged communist ties. The Front was written by blacklisted Walter Bernstein and features performances from several blacklisted entertainers, including Herschel Bernardi, Joshua Shelley, Lloyd Gough, and Zero Mostel.
Rating: PG
Genre: Comedy , Drama
Directed By: Martin Ritt
Written By: Walter Bernstein
In Theaters: wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Cast

Woody Allen
as Howard Prince
Zero Mostel
as Hecky Brown
Herschel Bernardi
as Phil Sussman
Michael Murphy
as Alfred Miller
Andrea Marcovicci
as Florence Barrett
Remak Ramsay
as Hennessey
Marvin Lichterman
as Myer Prince
Lloyd Gough
as Delaney
Norman Rose
as Howard's Attorney
Danny Aiello
as Danny La Gattuta
Scott McKay
as Hampton
Charles Kimbrough
as Committee Counselor
Georgann Johnson
as TV Interviewer
Josef Sommer
as Committee Chairman
Burt Britton
as Bookseller
Albert M. Ottenheimer
as School Principal
Joey Faye
as Waiter
David Clarke
as Hubert Jackson
John Bentley
as Bartender
John J. Slater
as T.V. Director
Renee Paris
as Girl In Hotel Lobby
Gino Gennaro
as Stage Hand
Macintyre Dixon
as Harry Stone
Joan Porter
as Myer's Wife
Andrew Bernstein
as Alfred's Child
Jacob Bernstein
as Alfred's Child
Matthew Tobin
as Man at Party
John Slater
as TV Director
Sam McMurray
as Young Man at Party
Joe Ramrog
as F B I Man
Donald Symington
as Congressman
Pat McNamara
as Federal Marshal
Joe Jamrog
as FBI Man
Jack Davidson
as Congressman
J. Patrick McNamara
as Federal Marshall
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News & Interviews for The Front

Critic Reviews for The Front

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

An empty monument to the senility of American liberalism.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It recreates the awful noise of ignorance that can still be heard.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

The tragedy implied by this character tells us what we need to know about the blacklist's effect on people's lives; the rest of the movie adds almost nothing else.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Ritt's direction is all sweaty close-ups and mismatched shots.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The rich and deceptively radical The Front is given a justly rewarding transfer from Twilight Time, proving the film's deft handling of tone can be even more engrossing.

Full Review… | February 27, 2014
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Front

The Front stars Woody Allen (not written or directed by) as a front for blacklisted writers. I didn't find much funny with this movie, and often the story is bland. Woody Allens characters moral transitions, while important for the film, happened to quickly. He does have great chemistry with screen partner Zero Mostel though. The film really did win me over with the ending, and the charming credits. Shows the issues with blacklisting, and the industry during the red scare.

Daniel Dolgin
Daniel Dolgin

An effective dramedy that works as an indictment of McCarthyism and the use of blacklisting during the Red Scare. I wish the film had opted to focus more on the nuances of blacklisting, such as exploring the political motives of the committees, but instead it decided to focus more on Allen's character, which worked well, it just didn't help the film make the large statement it intended to make. At the same time, it did do a good job of showing the effects on those targeted, as well as the great ironies involved. 3.5/5 Stars

Jeffrey Meyers
Jeffrey Meyers

The Front is a worthwhile but flat film that combines a Woody Allen comic persona with an earnest desire to educate modern audiences (this was 76, it really feels like distant history now) with the Mcarthy Era witchhunts as they affected the enterainment world.Martin Ritt, himself having been blacklisted, assembled a strong cast who are up to the challenge, including Zero Mostel -also blacklisted-, in his most serious and touching (and almost last) screen appearance. However, this film feels weak and except for the last scene is not dramatic or high stakes enough to care. Woody Allen is a 'front' for some outcast Communist sympathizing writers. Until the last very effective scene, the movie wastes potentially dramatic betrayals by having eveyone be too nice and noble. The film would have been much more interesting, if, as the situation seems to lead to, someone would betray someone. Nobody does and the film doesn't live up to its promise. In any case, it's worth a rental if you can find it and are interested in the subject matter. George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck is a much more effective and dramatic movie about the same historical event, but if you want a bigger viewing list., give this one a look.

Josh Morris
Josh Morris

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