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The Front


In 1976, Woody Allen proved that he could be a terrific comedy/drama actor in a film that he didn't direct with THE FRONT.

Detailing the incredible impact of McCarthy's RED communism scare of 1953, the film powerfully relates the story of Howard Prince, a deli cashier living life day to day and mired in betting on the horses and plenty of ball games.

One of his long time friends Alfred (Michael Murphy) approaches him at the register and asks him for a drink to discuss a plan.

Alfred is a very successful TV writer, recently blacklisted and looking for a way to submit his scripts. Howard will pose as a writer, submit the scripts and get a cut of every paycheck.

At first, the plan works brilliantly, but soon, Howard finds himself meeting more and more blacklisted people, hearing their stories and understanding they've had their lives ruined for, in most cases, no logical or proven reason.

Zero Mostel is star comic Hecky Brown, whose life is turned upside down by the fact he chased a left leaning girl many years before. Mostel is able to show off his manic comedy, as well as a more tender side than I've ever seen from him.

Woody is funny and terrific throughout.

The film is all the more powerful when you realize that the director, Martin Ritt, it's writer Walter Bernstein and its producers were ALL blacklisted in real life in the fifties.

What a shameful time in our history.

The film captures the era perfectly, with a great cast and story well told. THE FRONT gets a B.

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