Best Movies by Farr

The Front

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What's it About

In the midst of the entertainment industry blacklist of the 1950s, cashier Howard Prince (Allen) is asked to "front" for blacklisted TV writer Alfred Miller (Murphy), causing a variety of complications, some of them quite humorous. Meanwhile, veteran comic Hecky Brown (Mostel) sees his long career slipping away from him as a long-past association in a Communist organization comes to light.

Why we love it

Martin Ritt's restrained but powerful film is a searing indictment of the corrosive, cowardly effects of McCarthysim, a time the director lived through. It's a sort of bitter victory (or sweet revenge) that Mostel was cast, as he was an early victim of the same blacklist. The inimitable Zero steals the show as the tragic Hecky, but Woody is also fine in a fairly straight role. A vivid recreation of a dark moment in our history, "The Front" is not to be missed.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"