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Murphy is a blacklisted writer in the 1950s, and for a fee cashier Allen agrees to "front" for him by posing as the author of Murphy's scripts and selling them to television producers. The plan works, and Allen begins fronting for a stable of blacklisted writers, selling many scripts to
Bernardi, producer of an anthology TV show starring Mostel. Soon Mostel is victimized by the communist hunters, resulting in his suicide, and Allen himself faces a dilemma when he is called before government investigators. The film is a rarity in that Allen's only involvement here is as an actor,
and he performs quite well in a film that succeeds in evoking outrage at the injustices of the era. The film seems content with hitting that rather-easy target, however, making for a pretty sluggish movie. Director Ritt, writer Bernstein, and actor Mostel were themselves blacklisted in the 1950s,
and the Mostel character was, according to one report, based on Phillip Loeb, who killed himself after being blacklisted and fired as a star of the TV show "The Goldbergs." Bernstein's screenplay picked up an Oscar nomination.