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Martin Ritt, 1976
USA | 95 minutes
Q&A with Walter Bernstein and J. Hoberman after Nov. 7 screening!
Screenwriter Walter Bernstein and director Martin Ritt, along with stars Zero Mostel and Herschel Bernardi, drew on their collective experience as survivors of the Hollywood blacklist for this wry comedy about a small-time bookie (Woody Allen) who becomes a “front” for a group of blacklisted television writers. Bernstein’s Oscar-nominated script sustains a nimble balance between tragedy and farce as Allen’s hapless Howard Prince finds himself first acclaimed as a genius and, later, hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee to testify. The result is a stingingly funny, poignant look back at a very dark chapter in America’s not too distant past.
“A moving, haunted film about the panic that swept this country during the late 1940's and early 50's…even in its comic moments The Front works on the conscience. It recreates the awful noise of ignorance that can still be heard.”
—Vincent Canby, The New York Times
Photo courtesy of COLUMBIA / THE KOBAL COLLECTION.