The Day of the Locust 1975 ***

One of those big Hollywood films that deal candidly with how awful making big Hollywood film was, John Schlesinger’s 1975 drama was a considerable box-office failure, it’s downbeat tone at odds with the mid-seventies period nostalgia. Waldo Salt adapts Nathanael West’s novel about the backstabbing that went on offstage, unglamorously presented. William Atherton plays Todd Hackett, who comes to Hollywood seeking fame sand fortune, but finds only drugs, booze and Karen Black as a fading ingénue. Donald Sutherland portrays social outcast Homer Simpson, and the concluding scenes, in which he’s physically ripped apart by an angry mob, are disturbing. Well acted and serious minded, Day of the Locust is a quality drama with lots to say, albeit much of it damning about 1930’s America.


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