The Front

Martin Ritt drapes his story of a cashier (Woody Allen) fronting for blacklisted television writers during the McCarthy era in the sackcloth of liberal sentimentalism, never quite getting beyond the convenient moralizing of Walter Bernstein's screenplay to the significant ideological questions involved. Allen, in spite of his “first dramatic role” billing, provides some much-needed wit, but he suffocates in the pervasive atmosphere of sanctimony. Ritt's direction is all sweaty close-ups and mismatched shots. With Zero Mostel (1976).

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