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The Day of the Locust (7-May-1975)

Director: John Schlesinger

Writer: Waldo Salt

From novel: The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

Keywords: Romantic Drama, Hollywood

Dark tale depicting Hollywood's lost souls and broken dreams. William Atherton is a studio artist, designing sets and costumes. He falls in love with Karen Black, a frustrated actress who will do absolutely anything to further her career, but is quite lacking in the talent department. One of the greatest endings of any film ever made. Received Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Cinematography.

John Schlesinger, quoted in Elsie M. Walker (ed.), Conversations with Directors: "If you talk about adaptations, Day of the Locust was the most difficult one of all. It was really very tough trying to develop it into a story with characters of flesh and blood and a dramatic thrust to the whole thing. When I saw the first cut of the film, I knew it was going to be controversial, but I was very proud of it -- and still am, incidentally. I realized that maybe the casting of Karen Black as Faye was fatal, but I felt we had a really interesting and extraordinary film which by no means was going to be popular."

[watch trailer]

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
William Atherton
30-Jul-1947   Ghostbusters
Billy Barty
25-Oct-1924 23-Dec-2000 High-profile little person
Karen Black
1-Jul-1939 7-Aug-2013 Five Easy Pieces
William Castle
Film Director
24-Apr-1914 31-May-1977 House on Haunted Hill
Dennis Dugan
5-Sep-1946   Happy Gilmore
Richard Dysart
30-Mar-1929 5-Apr-2015 Leland McKenzie on L.A. Law
Jackie Earle Haley
14-Jul-1961   Breaking Away
John Hillerman
20-Dec-1932 9-Nov-2017 Higgins on Magnum, P.I.
Bo Hopkins
2-Feb-1942   Matthew Blaisdel on Dynasty
Madge Kennedy
19-Apr-1891 9-Jun-1987 The Marrying Kind
David Ladd
5-Feb-1947   A Dog of Flanders
Burgess Meredith
16-Nov-1908 9-Sep-1997 Rocky and Grumpy Old Men
Geraldine Page
22-Nov-1924 13-Jun-1987 Toys in the Attic
Robert Pine
10-Jul-1941   Sgt. Getraer on CHiPS
Natalie Schafer
5-Nov-1900 10-Apr-1991 Mrs. Howell on Gilligan's Island
Paul Stewart
13-Mar-1908 17-Feb-1986 Citizen Kane
Donald Sutherland
17-Jul-1935   The Dirty Dozen
Nita Talbot
8-Aug-1930   Rose on Starting from Scratch
John War Eagle
8-Jun-1901 7-Feb-1991 The Man from Laramie


Review by anonymous (posted on 22-Jun-2005)

This film is very underrated and was a bomb at the box office. Based on a short novel by Nathaniel West, Day of the Locust focuses in Hollywood of the late 30's. As told through an art director working at Paramount, Hollywood is not the glamour capitol of the world. In fact its a haven for hucksters, wanna bes, never weres, and nobodies. The art director sees the people living and working in Hollywood as locusts, open mouthed, feeding, wanting, destroying. Schlesinger paints this Hollywood with great hues and colors. Its depressing and colorful, yet down and disturbing. None of the characters have any real merit and the ending scenes will blow your socks off. One of my all-time favorite films by one of my all-time favorite directors. A must-see.

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