Drama | In English | 95 minutes
In 1953, Howard Prince, a restaurant cashier and small-time bookie, agrees to be a “front” for his good friend Alfred Miller, a blacklisted TV screenwriter. In exchange for 10% of Alfred’s earnings, Howard signs his name to Alfred’s screenplays and submits them to the network producer, Phil Sussman. The arrangement works flawlessly and more blacklisted screenwriters seek Howard for similar help. Florence Barrett, a script editor at the TV network, is impressed with Howard’s “talent” and they start dating. But soon, Howard begins to witness the tragedies the blacklist was causing. Actors and writers were losing jobs and income. The worst was the suicide of Hecky Brown, a gifted comedian-actor, who was ruthlessly blacklisted. Howard eventually confesses to Florence that he is not the talented genius she thinks he is.In fact, he was a “front” for blacklisted screenwriters. With a shocked and disappointed Florence, Howard decides to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC.) He mocks the committee, accuses them of inappropriate accusations, and storms out. The film ends with Howard being taken away in handcuffs, followed by an adoring Florence, and a swarm of protesters who cheer his bravery.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score : 71%
- Academy Awards: Nominate, Best Screenplay (Walter Bernstein)
- Golden Globe Awards: Best Acting Debut (Andrea Marcovicci)
- BAFTA Awards: Nominated, Best Supporting Actor (Zero Mostel)
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At its most appealing, this movie says that people shouldn’t be pressured to inform on their friends, that people shouldn’t be humiliated in order to earn a living. Humbly, this film asks for fairness.
It recreates the awful voice of ignorance that can still be heard today.
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