THE FRONT (1976) is director Martin Ritt's and screenwriter Walter Bernstein's autobiographical film about the House of Un-American Activities Committee's hunt for communists in the booming New York television industry during the 1950s. I haven't seen the film since it was new, but I was very impressed with it. It was a big hit in New York at a time when the blacklist was still a living memory for many New Yorkers. It's not a comedy, but a serious drama with an occasional sense of humor. Woody Allen is very, very good as a clerk who "fronts" for blacklisted TV writers. At first he doesn't take them seriously, but when he sees the injustice and suffering of his friends he begins to take sides. When Allen himself becomes the subject of investigation, he has a great exit line. Many blacklisted actors appear in the film, including Zero Mostel who actually lived the story being told here. After starring in THE FRONT for Ritt and Bernstein, Woody Allen decided to make more serious comedies. It's a fact that Allen's career started in NY television in the late 1950s writing comedy for programs that couldn't hire blacklisted writers. So he was the perfect actor for the part.
Martin Ritt's social conscience resulted in some great and compelling films, but they haven't found their way onto blu-ray. I'm glad Twilight Time is bringing this and CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS out. I believe Sony / Columbia and MGM have lost interest in this type of film as well as in their Woody Allen catalog.
Edited by Richard--W, October 13 2013 - 01:38 AM.