27 The Front

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domino harvey
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27 The Front

#1 Post by domino harvey » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:11 am

Image
(Martin Ritt, 1976)
Release date: 27 March 2017
Limited Dual Format Edition (UK Blu-ray premiere)

What if there were a list?

A list that said: Our finest actors weren't allowed to act. Our best writers aren't allowed to write. Our funniest comedians aren't allowed to make us laugh.

What would it be like if there were such a list?

It would be like America in 1953.

INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES:
• 4K restoration from the original negative
• Original mono audio
• Audio commentary with film historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman and actress Andrea Marcovicci
• Behind The Front (2004, 6 mins): an interview with the acclaimed director of photography Michael Chapman
• Isolated score: experience Dave Grusin's original soundtrack music
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• Original theatrical trailer
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive 36-pqge booklet with a new essay by professor Gabriel Miller, author of The Films of Martin Ritt: Fanfare for the Common Man and archival interviews with Woody Allen, screenwriter Walter Bernstein and director Martin Ritt
• Limited Dual Format Edition of 3,000 copies
• UK Blu-ray premiere

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domino harvey
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Re: 27 The Front

#2 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:27 pm

I found this really disappointing, and there's a lot here that doesn't work. Allen is alternately what's right and what's wrong here: he's amusing, but also at odds with the more serious tone the rest of the film surrounding him takes. I think the whole touted involvement of so many Blacklisted participants is more of a gimmick than retributive asset, and I couldn't help but wonder why the whole film didn't take the tone of the last five minutes and just present a feature-length fantasy of Fuck Yous to HUAC if that's all it wanted to do anyways. As is, this just isn't much of a movie.

Are there any good movies about the Blacklist? I haven't seen the one with De Niro, maybe it bucks the trend?

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Colpeper
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Re: 27 The Front

#3 Post by Colpeper » Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:21 pm

I saw the De Niro, Guilty By Suspicion, back on release in 1991. I actually had to look up the name of the film just now, which tells something about how little memorable there was about it. A major let down at the time, given that it had been well hyped with magazine cover stories; one even described it as a De Niro "comeback" film, if I recall correctly.

I haven't watched The Front yet, but I suspect the great film about HUAC et al is yet to be made. I would give a mention to Daniel Taradash's Storm Center in the same vein, although that does have a bit of a Stanley Kramer feel to it - trying just a little too hard.

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Dr Amicus
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Re: 27 The Front

#4 Post by Dr Amicus » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:24 am

I'd pretty much agree re Guilty By Suspicion - it's the epitome of early 90s awards bait. I remember a lot of the focus being on this being the Directorial debut of Irwin Winkler at least as much as on De Niro - oh, and quite a lot was made at the time of Scorsese's glorified cameo as (effectively) Joseph Losey.

Philip French had a soft spot for films set around the HUAC / Blacklist - I'm sure he put Yates's The House on Carroll Street on his Best Of that year, but again I don't recall being hugely impressed by that either.

Additional note: In one of the Shock Xpress volumes in the early 90s, there is a typically excellent piece by Kim Newman about cinematic representations of the HUAC and the blacklist - next time at my parents house I'll dig it out.

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Re: 27 The Front

#5 Post by GoodOldNeon » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:34 am

I didn't find the film itself all that interesting, except in terms of Woody Allen's career. Falling directly between his early comedies and his first "serious" film, it seems plausible to me that the more serious tone and subject matter of this film had an immediate influence on Allen's own work (obviously for the better), and thus by association the film should be awarded a much greater esteem than the film on its own would merit. That said, I'm just speculating here and I don't know whether Allen scholars see the film in the same way.

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domino harvey
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Re: 27 The Front

#6 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:27 am

The House on Carroll Street is mediocre indeed. I'd forgotten all about it til your post just now, Dr Amicus! Thanks Colpeper and Dr Amicus, I think I'll skip Guilty by Suspicion (which sounds like an erotic thriller starring Rebecca DeMornay). I'd be interested in the Newman article, though!

GoodOldNeon, that seems plausible. Apparently a lot of press at the time was really selling this as Allen making a dramatic shift, but he's just doing comedy the whole time. I think, if one forgoes Play It Again, Sam since he wrote it, this does show yet again that Allen isn't a good fit for other people's projects (and has bad taste in which ones he accepts!)

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