The Front was written by Walter Bernstein, directed by Martin Ritt and starring Woody Allen and Zero Mostel, is a film about the blacklist during the age of live television. Because of the blacklist, a number of artists, writers, directors and others were rendered unemployable, having been accused of subversive political activities in support of Communism or of actually being Communists themselves. The filmmakers — screenwriter Bernstein, director Ritt, Zero Mostel, Herschel Bernardi, and Lloyd Gough — had all been blacklisted: the name of each in the closing credits is followed by "Blacklisted 19--" - providing the relevant year. Bernstein was listed after being named in the FBI-published Red Channels journal that identified alleged Communists and Communist sympathizers. Questions:
1. Before Howard Prince became a “front,” what did he do for a living?
2. How did Hecky Brown get on the blacklist?
3. What alternatives did a person have when called in front of HUAC?
4. In the scene at the luncheonette, the actual writers all admit to being current Communists. Why is this scene in the movie? Why might this be a different attitude then most of the people brought before HUAC might have had?
5. What did HUAC want from witnesses? How could they get this from the people testifying?
6. What industry was HUAC most concerned about? Why?
7. Explain the role of the Fifth Amendment in this movie/during the HUAC hearings. What is contempt?
8. How does Howard make his stand? What happens to him?
9. How can the lessons of the holocaust be applied to this movie?
10. In 1976, Vincent Canby reviewed the movie for the New York Times. Below is a quote from his review. What do you think of his view of the film? Is he accurate?
"The Front is not the whole story of an especially unpleasant piece of American history. It may be faulted for oversimplification. Mr. Ritt and Mr. Bernstein, both veterans of the blacklist, are not...
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