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The Day of the Locust (1975) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • 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.

  • Tod Hackett, fresh out of Yale, wants to make it as an art director in late 1930's Hollywood - but he finds himself increasingly distracted by his new neighbor Faye, a would-be starlet with possible designs of her own on a lonely, morose accountant. As Tod is drawn deeper into the lurid private lives of studio bosses and film industry workers, he gradually becomes desperate to know if Faye - or anyone - is capable of real love.

  • 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.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Young artist Tod Hackett (William Atherton) looks over an apartment in the new Depression Era Hollywoodland as a place to set up residence as he makes his way into the film industry. Hackett is like many other young men of the time seeking a career at one of the studios that make silent films in the 30s. Across from his bungalow lives Faye Greener (Karen Black) a young blonde who works as a film extra and very attractive to Hackett whose attempts to initiate a romantic relationship with the woman is rebuffed. Hackett aspires to great art as a painter visualizing his major work "Burning of Hollywood" but working as a set designer for a second rate producer Claude Estee (Richard A. Dysart) who was a graduate from Yale College as Hackett was. As Hackett gets involved deeper into the world of Faye and her former Vaudeville performer father Harry Greener (Burgess Meredith) who makes money selling elixir door-to-door he becomes more disillusioned over the mythic value of Hollywood. When Harry collapses at the home of unassuming accountant Homer Simpson (Donald Sutherland), Faye pulls Homer into the fringe world of film performers using him to live on while she pursues her career. As Hackett is exposed to more of the lifestyle in the film world of Los Angeles his vision of Mankind takes on bolder, grander imagery when an event at a film premier develops into mayhem.

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