Watch The Day of the Locust
- 2 hr 24 min
Set in the Great Depression era, The Day of the Locust is a 1975 American drama film directed by John Schlesinger. The film is based on the 1939 novel of the same name by Nathanael West. With an ensemble cast including Donald Sutherland, Karen Black, Burgess Meredith, and William Atherton, the story centers around a group of individuals from different walks of life who all converge in Hollywood, pursuing their dreams and experiencing the harsh realities of the movie industry.
The film starts with Tod Hackett (Sutherland), a talented artist, leaving Yale and moving to California to pursue his ambition of becoming a successful painter. He rents a small apartment complex in Hollywood, where he meets his eccentric neighbors, including Faye Greener (Black), an aspiring actress, and her father Harry Greener (Meredith), who works as an extra on movie sets. Tod becomes infatuated with Faye, but she remains indifferent to his feelings and instead starts a passionate affair with Homer Simpson (Atherton), a naive accountant who aspires to become a successful screenwriter.
As the story progresses, the desperation and loneliness of characters are exposed as they continue their futile pursuit of fame and fortune in the movie industry. Desperate to get her big break, Faye becomes involved with a wealthy playboy, while Tod falls into a series of alcohol-induced hallucinations that depict his deepest fears and desires. Meanwhile, Harry, after being fired from his job, seeks revenge by crashing a lavish Hollywood party with destructive consequences.
The Day of the Locust is a critique of the negative aspects of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, exposing the dark underbelly of the American Dream. The film portrays the shallow and superficial nature of the people who inhabit this world, highlighting the facade that they put on to hide their true emotions and intentions. The film also explores themes of longing, loneliness, and obsession, showcasing individuals who are unable to break free from their past or overcome their personal struggles.
The performances in the film are strong, with Sutherland giving an emotionally charged performance as Tod Hackett, the artist who is struggling with his identity and place in Hollywood. Black is also excellent as Faye Greener, portraying the character's vulnerability and desperation. Burgess Meredith is a standout as Harry Greener, offering a nuanced performance that shows the character's complexities and inner demons.
In terms of direction, John Schlesinger's portrayal of Hollywood in the 1930s is both visually stunning and haunting. The film's cinematography by Conrad L. Hall is noteworthy for its use of natural light and shadows, effectively capturing the gritty and oppressive atmosphere of the time.
Overall, The Day of the Locust is a powerful and thought-provoking film, challenging the audience to confront the harsh realities of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. It is a compelling drama that explores the frailty of human existence, exposing the lengths that individuals will go to in order to attain their dreams. The film's timeless themes and strong performances make it a must-see for anyone interested in the history of Hollywood and the dark side of the American Dream.
The Day of the Locust is a 1975 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 24 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 61.