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The Day of the Locust
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10 from 3,832 votes
Release: 15 January 1976 (Netherlands) /

The Day of the Locust

Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: John Schlesinger,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Life's flotsam and jetsam turn up at late 1930's Hollywoodland's door, once more, in this insightful tale of wannabes and desperadoes. Tod Hackett, artist, has inspirations to become noticed until he meets Faye Greener, blonde bombshell, and is immediately smitten. She has other ideas. She has Homer Simpson, victim, in her sights and cruelty and loneliness takes new meaning as all three are slowly sucked into the Hollywood system of sycophants, diggers and parasites, sucking the life from others as the life, and soul, is slowly sucked from them. Written by Cinema_Fan

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Critic Reviews

I don't quite understand the comments from the viewers who found this film boring. I've been lucky enough to see it on the big screen several times at revival houses, and each time I was blown away. Day of the Locust is a dark, compelling, amusing, bitter epic that's really more about America itself as filtered through the lens of Hollywood at its first creative height, in the 1930s.

What makes the movie, beyond the writing and direction, is its cast, and many of the supporting actors here create indelible characters. Why Karen Black didn't remain a superstar after this decade is a mystery, especially after this film -- in which she proves that she could act the hell out of a role. And how can you not like a film in which Billy Barty plays a foul-mouthed alcoholic (the first character we meet in the book), Burgess Meredith is a hapless door-to-door salesman, Natalie "Lovey" Shafer is the madam of a high-class whorehouse in San Bernardino, and Donald Sutherland is the repressed Homer ("No Relation") Simpson, an accountant who's so alienated from his own feelings that he's reduced to howling in despair in his own garden. And, in fact, Sutherland's character is involved in one of the film's most harrowing moments, which features a young Jackie Earle Haley as a promising child star of indeterminate gender but infinite obnoxiousness.

Anyway, if you have a chance to catch this film on the big screen, by all means do so, and be sure to add the DVD to your collection -- although, since we're coming up on the 30th anniversary, it's just possible that Paramount Home Video might decide to give it the deluxe treatment it deserves. Frankenheimer, et al, manage to take a brilliant novella by Nathaniel West and turn it into an amazing piece of cinema that will stick with you long after the lights go up. And, as an added bonus, you can just enjoy it as a great story, or delve deeply into the symbolism. This is the kind of film that works both ways, and one that you cannot miss if you consider yourself any kind of film fan at all, at all.

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