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.
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.