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The Day of the Locust (1975)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  22 August 1975 (France)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,847 users  
Reviews: 67 user | 30 critic

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.



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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Big Sister
Claude Estee
Earle Shoop
Lelia Goldoni ...
Mary Dove
Abe Kusich
Adore (as Jackie Haley)
Gloria LeRoy ...
Mrs. Loomis (as Gloria Le Roy)
Jane Hoffman ...
Mrs. Odlesh
Mr. Odlesh (as Norm Leavitt)
Madge Kennedy ...
Mrs. Johnson


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


By train. By car. By bus. They came to Hollywood... In search of a dream. See more »


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 August 1975 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Como plaga de langosta  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Veteran actors Red Skelton, James Cagney and Eddie Albert were considered as possibilities for key roles in the film, most likely in the role played by Burgess Meredith. See more »


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 »


[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 »


References Texas Trail (1937) See more »


Written by Johannes Brahms
Sung by Lotte Lehmann
Courtesy of RCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the most haunting films of all time
23 July 2004 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See 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.

68 of 85 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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