- Acceptable Political Targets: A daring indictment of the Hollywood blacklist, a scant 16 years after it ceased to be respected altogether.
- Despair Event Horizon: It's depressing to watch Hecky disintegrate under the pressure.
Hecky: That girl you're with. What's her name?Howard: Florence.Hecky: (manic) A troublemaker. I heard her talking on the set. Subversive. She's a red. You like that girl?Howard: Yes, I like her.Hecky: Her name? Her full name.
- Director Displacement: Woody Allen stars in the film, but he didn't write or direct.
- He Really Can Act: Many of his non-fans (and even some of his admirers) have this reaction to Woody Allen's performance. It was his most dramatic role to date, and he played it with gravity and depth.
- Ditto for Zero Mostel. Roger Ebert felt he as "Hecky Brown" embodied the pain caused by McCarthyism.
- Tearjerker: Hecky Brown jumping to his death. Even moreso with the knowledge that this was Mostel's last appearance on the silver screen.