HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
   
 
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  Day of the Locust, The Hell Up In HollywoodBuy this film here.
Year: 1975
Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Karen Black, Burgess Meredith, William Atherton, Geraldine Page, Richard Dysart, Bo Hopkins, Pepe Serna, Lelia Goldoni, Billy Barty, Jackie Earle Haley, Gloria LeRoy, Jane Hoffman, Nita Talbot, Paul Stewart, John Hillerman, Dennis Dugan
Genre: Horror, Drama
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Hollywood 1938, and budding artist Tod Hackett (William Atherton) moves into an apartment complex which he can afford on his salary, but would still like to be doing more for his money as the art director position on various movies keeps getting filled by other people. However, once he has settled into his new home he notices the young starlet Faye Greener (Karen Black) living across the courtyard with her ageing, door-to-door salesman father (Burgess Meredith). She enchants him, but is having the same effect on other men as well - can Tod get her that breakthrough role?

Well, maybe enchants is the wrong word, as there was very little enchanting about John Schlesinger's adaptation of Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust, so as far as that went they got that right about the source. One of the most caustic parables of Hollywood ever written, West's novel was partly based on his experiences as a screenwriter there during the Great Depression, and by all accounts he did pretty well out of it when millions of his countrymen were starving. He saw that it was not simply wealth the public were in need of, but entertainment as well, and he was not impressed by this compulsion.

Therefore he wrote this, a short, snappy and mean tale of the power of the moviegoers and what happens when they turn into a mob through sheer strength of numbers and the thwarting of their impossible dreams. The book's stature only grew after West's untimely death in 1940, as a film, however many creative types thought they could bring it to the screen, something always foiled them, and when Schlesinger and Waldo Salt's script finally succeeded, it was a complete disaster at the box office. For those who liked the original, there was too much to complain about in the choices, for those who hadn't, it was an incredibly offputting experience.

This could be compared to the contemporary adaptation of The Great Gatsby, not least because they looked so similar in style with the sheen of golden nostalgia affecting every frame, and similarly missing the point for too many audiences who might otherwise have been sympathetic. Not that the characters are likeable, far from it as their baser desires and urges tend to navigate their way through the plot for them, even the meek and schlubby Homer Simpson (Donald Sutherland, who doesn't show up for over forty minutes), the man flighty Faye (Black was miscast) finally settles on as her partner. It should be noted that Sutherland was not playing the yellow, overweight cartoon man of popular sitcom fame, that was pure coincidence.

It might have made for an even stranger movie, of course, but for the most part without West's prose to force you through to its devilish denouement, The Day of the Locust as envisioned here was a real trudge, with only occasional sequences standing out - for example Meredith's slog through the rich folk's homes as he tries to sell his snake oil and laughs himself into a heart attack in the process, or the near-fatal collapse of the set Tod has designed, coming about because the bosses don't care about safety and care all too much about profit. But then you reach the final twenty minutes and at last Schlesinger found the tone he was looking for: abject horror. The ending which is triggered by Homer punishing the vilest character, a child, is among the most vicious of this or any decade, building from harrowing to positively apocalyptic, a truly powerful climax that left more than one viewer shaken. Trouble is, it's a long road to get there, and when you do many might wonder if this was what they really wanted to see. Music by John Barry.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2753 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: