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The Day of the Locust (1975)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,504 users  
Reviews: 66 user | 28 critic

An art director in the 1930's 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.

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Title: The Day of the Locust (1975)

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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:
...
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...
...
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Big Sister
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Claude Estee
...
Earle Shoop
...
Miguel
Lelia Goldoni ...
Mary Dove
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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
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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:

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

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 August 1975 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Como plaga de langosta  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the small Pekingnese dog that belonged to Audrey Jennings (Natalie Schafer) was "Froufrou". See more »

Goofs

The film opens at a sightseeing/tourist spot and parking area at the foot of the "H" in the Hollywoodland sign. No such facility has ever existed as that part of the hill is too steep for road construction. The real road passes behind the sign and above it. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in 24: Live Another Day: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

JUNE IN JANUARY
Music by Ralph Rainger
Lyrics by Leo Robin
See more »

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User Reviews

"Mulholland Drive" with more blood.
7 July 2003 | by (Kitchener, Ontario) – See all my reviews

I first saw "Day of the Locust" because I thought Karen Black was keen. I liked the film, but I can't say I understood its point at the time. What's with the faceless people, Sutherland's hands, and the angry dwarf? Sounds like David Lynch to me, especially in light of "Mulholland Drive" and its scathing, unsympathetic view of Hollywood (it even has a cowboy!)

I finally got around to reading the Nathanael West novel -- which is absolutely brilliant -- and decided to watch the film again. And I need to say that, as much as I still appreciate and enjoy the movie, it really missed the boat, trying to cram bits and pieces of ideas from the novel (the strange, artificial relationship between Faye and her father, the barely-restrained violence of those who "come to Hollywood to die," the anachronistic and cold facade of Hollywood and the people in charge of it), meanwhile stuffing in some 70's ideas, reflecting back on the beginnings of WWII (which wasn't an issue in the book at all), and -- strangely enough -- adding warmth and humanity to characters whose sole characteristic (in the novel) was that they had NO warmth or humanity whatsoever.

And that's the weird thing about this movie. I remember, when I first saw it, I was amazed at how unlikeable all the characters were. After reading the book, however, I can say that the characters in the movie are FAR TOO likeable to support any of the book's themes. This is most notable when it comes to Faye's little breakdowns, letting the viewer know that she's really a good person who wants to be loved, turning her into a VICTIM of the star system. But the point of the book -- as I gathered, anyway -- was that these people aren't victims at all. They're greedy people who victimize each-other, and usually in sloppy, stupid ways ("Jeepers, Creepers!") Faye isn't capable of an unaffected tender moment, all she can do is pretend. The same goes for her father: even his moments of genuine sickness and pain are filtered through his never-ending vaudeville routine.

Homer Simpson, as well, is portrayed (in the film) as a sort of unfortunate lump, and a bible-thumper to boot, taken advantage of by Faye. But that destroys one of the great levels of nastiness in the novel: Homer is just as much as an opportunist as Faye, and he deserves everything he gets. Why is he being so generous, letting her stay with him and hold cock-fights in his garage? Because he's a pathetic, incapable human being who barely has a human feature to him: he's just a collection of nervous ticks. He lusts after her, and he seems to delight in his thwarted lust. He's got less going for him than that lizard on the cactus, eating flies.

The film suffers from an attempt to make the characters likeable, almost without exception. The only person who escapes this "Hollywood-ization" of the book is Adore, the horrible child star whose fate nobody who has seen the movie (or read the book) will ever forget. Jeez!

If you find yourself watching this movie and "just not getting it," do yourself a favour and read the book. It won't make the movie any clearer, but you can at least view the movie as a clear-cut example of the sort of thing the book was pointing out and railing against, way back in 1939 when this idea was still a novel one: Hollywood films are manipulative and full of fakery, and so are humans in general, and people in general are also ghoulish and horrible, and no amount of eyelash-fluttering or smooth tango-dancing will disguise that. You might be the owner of a big studio and have an inflatable dead horse in your pool, but you still can't relate to your wife, and the only thing left in your life is pathetic thrill-seeking (cock-fights, cheesy stag flicks).

(Incidentally, I'm amazed at how many quirky things ended up in the screenplay that WEREN'T part of the book! Kudos to the scriptwriter for that at least!)


21 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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