USA Today - 02/20/2004
"Unlike most movies on the subject, this one has an impish tone."
One of the first films made about the House Committee on Un-American Activities' (HUAC) communist "witch hunts" of the 1950s, THE FRONT is a bitterly funny look at one of the most notorious periods in modern American history. Woody Allen stars as Howard Prince, a small-time bookie and cashier who is an old high school friend of the successful television writer Alfred Miller. When Miller is blacklisted, he goes to Howard and asks him to "front" for him, to pose as a writer and sell his scripts to television studios. Soon, Howard is made the head writer of a television series, fronting for other writers, and making more money than he ever had before. Unfortunately, Howard soon becomes the target of a HUAC investigation and is forced to choose between giving up his new lifestyle and making the right moral decision: implicating communists for the government. Frequently hilarious, THE FRONT is also a very personal film for its director, Martin Ritt, and its writer, Walter Bernstein, both of whom were blacklisted during the 1950s.
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THE FRONT marked the first time Woody Alen served only as an actor in a film. He had either written or directed all his previous films.
Director Martin Ritt was blacklisted in 1952 from the television industry for six years, during which time he directed plays and began his film career.
THE FRONT features four blacklisted performers: Zero Mostel, Herschel Bernardi, Lloyd Gough, and Joshua Shelley.
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