Interview-Review: The Front (1976) – A Dramedy About the Hollywood Blacklist Starring Woody Allen

the front
1) What is The Front about?
The Front is a comedy/drama about the Hollywood blacklist during the age of live television. It stars Woody Allen as “America’s most unlikely hero” as the tagline for the film says, but it’s basically Woody playing his usual self. Only this time he didn’t write or direct the film, which is rare, so he just stars in it. Though if you look at the producers of this film those names should be familiar. Charles H. Joffe & Jack Rollins produced every Woody Allen film ever and are personal friends of his. 

In this film Woody is a bit of a loser guy, but he knows this brilliant TV writer (Michael Murphy), who can’t write anymore because he’s been blacklisted (which means he’s suspected to be a communist). So Murphy’s character asks Allen to sell the scripts to the network since his name is “clean”. Then of course there’s a beautiful woman (Andrea Marcovicci) working for the network and Allen can’t help himself and so on and so forth, I don’t want to spoil too much.

2) Sounds like a pretty boring film, but then you’re a pretty boring person so it kind of makes sense that you would like it.
Well, I did like the movie. I thought it was very interesting. First of all it’s a fascinating film, because of its historical importance. This sort of thing really happened. Artists were black listed (writers, directors, actors), just at the slightest hint or suspicion of being part of the communist conspiracy. As a matter of fact both the director (Martin Ritt) and the writer (Walter Bernstein) were actually blacklisted themselves. So were a couple actors co-starring in this film.

More importantly the film has a great message. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending is not your standard Hollywood “happy ending”. Yes, it’s actually positive and uplifting in a way, but it doesn’t all work out perfectly for our hero. Speaking of which of course being a Woody Allen fanatic and unabashedly loving everything he’s in, of course I would like a movie like this. In The Front there’s a little bit of his typical humor and like I said he pretty much plays the usual version of himself.

It’s interesting though however to see Woody’s face being shot in a different way than what it appears in his own films. For one the camera is closer to his face and there are a lot more close-ups. Maybe it’s because he was younger, but there’s just something different.

Let me stop you right there. How can any person in their right mind support this pedophile?
Wow. Well, I didn’t want to get into this, but since you bring it up I suggest you get your facts straight before you start throwing around accusations. Filmmaker Robert B. Weide wrote an eloquent article about it on The Daily Beast, which I think everyone should read before making ignorant statements. Also Woody Allen himself set the record straight once and for all with this fantastic piece published by The New York Times just yesterday.

3) Whatever. That guy’s probably a pedophile himself. Moving on. What did you dislike about the film?
You know aside from the fact that it stars a child molester
I’m not even going to answer if you keep saying shit like that. Anyway, what I disliked about The Front was that it takes a bit too long to get to the third act. We all know Woody will be unmasked. The farce can’t go on forever, but the movie just keeps going and some of the stuff is a bit repetitive. Other than that I don’t have any other major complaints. It’s not as funny as some of Woody’s “own” films, but hey can you really expect that level of quality when he’s only in front of the camera?

Haha! You’re too funny!
What?

4) No, nothing. I was just reading Mia Farrow’s twitter feed.
Uhm… Let’s see what’s the next question? I forget… Ah, yes. Who would you recommend this film to?
I think Woody Allen fans will love this. If you like his sense of humor and love his movies and can’t get enough of him here’s one more for you. Other than that I think if you like films about filmmaking, which I personally love. And if you’re curious about how that blacklist thing worked, I think this is fairly realistic and it comes from people who experienced it first hand. It reminded me a little bit of that German movie The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) only of course much less dramatic.

5) So my last question, before you run off and spank it to whatever it is you get off…
I’m sorry, but I’m out of here. I won’t be bullied by you. Who the fuck are you, dude?

Oh, so this is getting personal now?
No, you started this!

Oh, I’m sorry I insulted your PBF.
PBF?

Pedo Best Friend.
Fuck you.

Any closing thoughts?
Blow me.

At least tell us your rating…

7 out of 10

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5 comments

    • davideperretta

      Good to hear! I think his explanation makes perfect sense and also the other article I attached explains the whole situation pretty well.

      It pisses me off when people talk about it without having considered different opinions and sources. And also comparing it to the Roman Polanski case makes no sense, because this is completely different and I actually have no doubts that Woody is being just badmouthed by his ex wife (whom I still love and respect as an actress).

      I don’t know I just thought I’d mention it because I know a lot of people are confused about the situation and it’s always easier to find negative articles about it than positive ones (even among fans surprisingly).

  1. Sarah

    I literally just almost fell off my couch laughing. This is pretty much all they are talking about on national news right now besides the Olympics, and to be honest I have no opinion. But it was fun watching you bitch fight with yourself 🙂

  2. Pingback: Interview-Review: Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel (1962) – A Discreetly Charming Essay of Bourgeois Critique | black is white

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