Senator Joe McCarthy was a fairly ignorant human being and a reckless demagogue who unfortunately was allowed by our government to prey upon the fears of the general public -- fears that were contrived by propaganda and that were connected with the cold war with the Soviet Union -- for political gain in the early 1950s. The fact that this nut had inspired national witch-hunts, including the Hollywood blacklisting depicted in this film, that destroyed the careers and ruined the lives of countless number of decent people -- who had no ambition to overthrow the political system -- only leads me to think that perhaps the political system needed to be overthrown. The attorney who was the mastermind behind these political campaigns of fear was no other than Roy Cohn -- the same man who years later turned out to be the central mentor in the life of our current President, Donald Trump. It appears we really haven't learned a whole lot from those days. We are still living in rather scary times, perhaps even more so, except that the national witch-hunts that are happening today are done very very quietly with the use of much more than one surveillance agent per person of interest. An entire undercover surveillance system comprised by hundreds of thousands of ground patrol, various spy aircraft, possibly the use of satellite, store monitors that now can be seen from a smart phone, and of course the surveillance of all tele-communication and online actvities both domestic and abroad are now in full operation that began just around the time that large defense contracts to support the war in the Middle East was ending. Imagine that.
As for the movie, "The Front", I do not recall ever seeing or even hearing about this film in the past forty-four years -- which only makes me wonder to what extent the powers that be kept this film under the mainstream radar. It is hard for me to imagine that Woody Allen did not have a hand in the writing of the script; everything about the film feels like a Woody Allen film. Even though some of the jokes came off like a Henny Youngman
monologue, the film effectively and skillfully used humor to highlight an important and ugly era in U.S. history. "The Front" is still relevant today because, at it's core, what the film really does -- in a light and intelligent way -- is to question the humanity of political force that is pressed down upon individual citizens by its own government through fear and manipulation, and we desperately need to learn from that.