The Day of the Locust (1975)

R   |    |  Drama, Thriller


The Day of the Locust (1975) Poster

An art director in the 1930s falls in love and attempts to make a young woman an actress despite Hollywood who wants nothing to do with her because of her problems with an estranged man and her alcoholic father.


7.1/10
4,588

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  • "The Day of the Locust"Karen Black 1975 Paramount Pictures** I.V. karenblack
  • Karen Black in "The Day Of The Locust"1975, Paramount**B.D.M. karenblack
  • Karen Black at an event for The Day of the Locust (1975)
  • Karen Black at an event for The Day of the Locust (1975)
  • Karen Black at an event for The Day of the Locust (1975)
  • The Day of the Locust (1975)

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15 May 1999 | MRCastng
"...a forgotten masterpiece of 70's cinema"
Many critics consider The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West to be the best novel ever written about Hollywood. The screen version directed by John Schlesinger and written by Waldo Salt is one of the most faithful adaptations of a book to film ever made. Initially overlooked upon it's release in 1974 (to mixed reviews), it has since developed a huge cult following and is now considered to be a forgotten masterpiece of 70's cinema.

It tells the story of Todd Hackett who comes to Hollywood in the 1930's (but it might as well take place in the present) hoping for a career in set design, he soon finds that the road to success in the film industry is a difficult one and his journey takes a downward spiral as he falls in with the users and abusers of Hollywood, the desperate, disillusioned souls who, consumed by boredom and their own emptiness, search out any abnormality in their insatiable lust for excitement - drugs, perversion, crime.

Aside from top-notch direction, the film contains gorgeous (Oscar nominated) cinematography by Conrad Hall, a haunting score by John Barry, authentic period costume and art design, and outstanding performances from the entire cast. Notably: William Atherton as Todd, Karen Black (her finest role) as Faye Greener, a selfish, wannabe actress and extra, Burgess Meredith (also Oscar nominated) as her alcoholic father and former vaudeville star, and an almost unrecognizable Donald Sutherland as the sensitive, socially retarded misfit who is torn apart by those around him and triggers the films much talked about finale.

One thing is for certain, anyone who has seen the last 20 minutes of this disturbing film will never forget it. A must-see for film students, art directors, and anyone interested in the "golden" years of Hollywood.

Related reading:

Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger

Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion

Less than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis

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