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The Day of the Locust (1975)

R | | Drama, Thriller | 12 June 1975 (UK)
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.

Director:

John Schlesinger

Writers:

Nathanael West (novel), Waldo Salt (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... Homer
Karen Black ... Faye
Burgess Meredith ... Harry
William Atherton ... Tod
Geraldine Page ... Big Sister
Richard Dysart ... Claude Estee
Bo Hopkins ... Earle Shoop
Pepe Serna ... Miguel
Lelia Goldoni ... Mary Dove
Billy Barty ... Abe
Jackie Earle Haley ... Adore (as Jackie Haley)
Gloria LeRoy Gloria LeRoy ... Mrs. Loomis (as Gloria Le Roy)
Jane Hoffman Jane Hoffman ... Mrs. Odlesh
Norman Leavitt ... Mr. Odlesh (as Norm Leavitt)
Madge Kennedy ... Mrs. Johnson
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It happened in Hollywood. But it could have happened in hell. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 June 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Day of the Locust See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$17,793,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film in which Faye, played by (Karen Black, has a speaking role is Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937). Eddie Cantor is plainly seen, but Black has been superimposed for her scene over Gypsy Rose Lee. See more »

Goofs

At the premiere of The Buccaneer, the announcer calls special attention to Anthony Quinn's bit part. In 1938, Quinn was a little-known 23-year-old at the start of his career, and his presence in that film would only be of widespread interest looking back a few decades later. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mrs. Odlesh: It isn't as splashy as some other places, but we pride ourselves on being a little classier.
Tod Hackett: [referring to a large crack in the plaster wall] Hmmm, the crack's real.
Mrs. Odlesh: Oh yes. We call this our earthquake cottage. Mrs. Porter had occupancy then. During the big one in '33. Property damage ran into the millions.
Tod Hackett: Will you fix it if I stayed for a while?
Mrs. Odlesh: Oh no! No! This is our showplace. Mrs. Porter wouldn't let us touch that wall. She worked that sampler herself to cover over the hole. ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the UK cinema release was uncut the 2004 DVD version was cut by 46 secs by the BBFC to remove scenes of cockfighting. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cosby Show: Day of the Locusts (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

The Invaders
Written by Victor Young
Margaret Aikens Jenkins Chorale
Conducted by Margaret Jenkins
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the most haunting films of all time
23 July 2004 | by JonB-2See all my 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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