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The Day of the Locust

The Day of the Locust (1975)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 2

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 2,143

My Rating

Movie Info

The Day of the Locust is anything but a cheerful, light look at Hollywood in the '30s. It recreates both the town as well as the filmmaking world around which much of the town revolved with devastating accuracy. The movie tells the twin tales of talentless wannabe actress Faye Greener (Karen Black) and Homer Simpson (Donald Sutherland), a lovelorn accountant who couldn't care less about movies. Around this framework, a huge and intricate social network is tellingly revealed, until the film's

R,

Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics

Waldo Salt

Jun 8, 2004

Paramount Pictures

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All Critics (16) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (5) | DVD (9)

Magnificent production, combined with excellent casting and direction, make The Day of the Locust as fine a film (in a professional sense) as the basic material lets it be.

June 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The narrative is often confused and confusing.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Schlesinger has conceived his film as an epic, which was a daring thing to do with such slender material.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A painfully misconceived reduction and simplification.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Accurately captures the intent of West's dark masterpiece.

May 8, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

John (Midnight Cowboy) Schlesinger's version of Nathanael Hawthorne's powerful novel about Hollywood and its dreamers and losers in the 1930s is not always effective, but it's ambitious, daring, and very well acted.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

The casting choices are brilliant but the production is let down by a haphazard screenplay that misses the novel's point, and weak direction.

March 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Much has been made of the climactic riot scene, which may have seemed novel when Nathanael West first wrote it back in the '30s, but it's just plain goofy when viewed today

April 7, 2004
New Times

Blistering film version of the novel. One of Schlesinger's best works.

August 24, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A fascinating, if flawed, example of the film industry turning the lights on itself and finding nothing there but darkness.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Audience Reviews for The Day of the Locust

Profoundly sad view of the lower rungs of Hollywood life in the 30's. Disturbing and unsettling. The climatic sequence is both horrifying and mesmerizing.
September 19, 2010
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

An often surreal but always intriguing morality tale. This film has it's sights set mostly on "Hollywood", with a few "pop shots" at organized religion (which if you think about it is not so different from Hollywood).

Sure the characters are "over the top" and "steretypical", a virtual cornucopia of Hollywood has beens and hopefuls. But that's kind of the point. It's meant to be a sort of snap-shot of 1930's-40's Hollywood and all that it entailed.

The acting is solid with the casting spot on. Especially Donald Sutherlands performance as Homer Simpson and the seemingly under appreciated William Atherton as Todd Hackett. The cinematography is brilliant, ranging from glorious to bleak but always captivating.

The last 15-20 minutes are genius!
June 4, 2009
RCCLBC
Robert C

Super Reviewer

Wow, what an ugly film. Presumably, this cynical tale of Hollywood wannabes was green-lit following the success of "Chinatown." Not one likable character in the cast -- even the lead Tod (William Atherton), with his shallow love for Faye (Karen Black), is hard to embrace. Donald Sutherland gives a remarkable performance as repressed neurotic Homer Simpson (now why does that name sound familiar?), but should have entered the story much earlier. Burgess Meredith? Wonderful, but wasted in a minor part.

As if the other depravities weren't enough, there's even a repulsive cockfighting scene needlessly thrown into the mix. Meanwhile, the surreal climax is like an entirely different movie (shades of "The Wall"?) and goes way, way over the top.

Interesting to see the often villainous Atherton as an innocent, William Castle in a cameo as a fictional director and the pubescent Jackie Earle Haley as an insufferable child-star brat.
November 12, 2011
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Allegorical film that depicts the moral decay of 1930's Hollywood. Donald Sutherland gave an unusual performance as Homer Simpson. The epic, horrifying climax is the true highlight of the picture, one of the best sequences of cinema ever filmed. Masterpiece.
November 12, 2009
Ivan6655321

Super Reviewer

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