HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Day of the Locust, The Hell Up In Hollywood
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, DramaBuy from Amazon
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 3103 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: