Film: The Front

The Front is a 1976 comedy-drama film directed by Martin Ritt and starring Woody Allen as a bookie who acts as a front for television writers blacklisted during the Red Scare of the 1950s.

The Front provides examples of:

  • Borscht Belt: Hecky has his roots there, and goes back to playing it after his blacklisting.
  • Driven to Suicide: Hecky Brown, based on the real-life suicide of Philip Loeb.
    • The fact that Zero Mostel was friends with Loeb makes this even more a Tear Jerker.
  • The Fifties
  • Large Ham: Hecky Brown, played by Real Life Large Ham Zero Mostel.
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence: The film opens with a montage of old newsreel clips depicting life in the early 1950s, as Frank Sinatra's "Young at Heart" plays on the soundtrack.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Alfred Miller, not to be confused with actual blacklisted playwright Arthur Miller.
  • Precision F-Strike: The film's final line, delivered by Howard to the HUAC members.
  • Red Scare: The Second Red Scare, as it's known.
  • Sad Clown: Hecky again.
  • Stage Names: Hecky Brown's real name is Herschel Bronstein.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Under pressure to "name names", Howard is told he can get off easily by naming Hecky, who is dead. No one would care, and no one thinks Howard is a sympathizer. Rather than take the easy way out, Howard tells the committee off to honor his friends, despite being arrested.
  • Witch Hunt: The HUAC.