Movies that are slightly off.
The Day of the Locust
It happenend in Hollywood. But it could have happened in hell.
Tod Hackett (William Atherton), a new arrival to Los Angeles and aspiring art director, is trying to make it in Hollywood in the late 1930's. He soon finds himself increasingly infatuated with his mysterious neighbor, Faye (Karen Black), a wanna-be starlet with possibly devious motives of her own. As Tod is drawn deeper into the lurid private lives of studio bosses and film industry people, he gradually becomes desperate to know if Faye - or anyone - in Hollywood is capable of real love.
You would have to be full of ostentatious lunacy to dare to make such a film of grotesque beauty as this. Hollywood as the little shop of horrors has never looked so right and so very very acidic.
It's been a week since I saw this, and that also involved seeing it piece by piece over 4-5 days, so my recollection is a little hazy. Therefore, I'll keep this short and sweet.
Firstly, Locust is a particularly gay film, even by Schlesinger standards. From the sleazy yet enticing decadence of tinseltown seduction, full of mindless clawing hope and regurgitated, failed dreams, to the way all the characters orbit deliriously around Karen Black's conceptually brilliant and seductive aspiring starlet, to the…
Overlong and heavy-handed. I'm torn about this film, on the one hand it focuses in on one of the most interesting periods in Hollywood history, full of sleaze and intrigue and scandal, but on the other hand it uses really over-the-top metaphors that make sure any subtlety is bludgeoned out of the film. It's Lynch Lite, but at least it's impossible to be ambivalent about Lynch's work (Lynch is much better at using imagery to his full advantage). This was just one big shoulder shrug. Moral bankrupcy? Meh.
I've read multiple reviews now saying the film "builds tension", but I'm beginning to think that is shorthand for, "the film starts off okay, then drags on for an hour or more and then has one killer last scene", because there was little tension to speak of, I thought.
Also, Karen Black. I don't even know.
So that's where Barton Fink came from.
Karen Black is fantastic as ditzy wannabe starlet, Faye Greener, a perfect embodiment of the deceptive, ungraspable and ultimately toxic allure of Hollywood aspiration.
William Atherton (Tod) and Donald Sutherland (Homer) are great as just two of the constellation of doomed and desperate men who orbit around Faye's flickering star.
Tod's increasingly eerie art department drawings for a Waterloo themed studio production grow ever more abstract and nightmarish, as the morally bankrupt nature of the movie business fully reveals itself to him. This eventually results in his vivid grotesqueries spilling off of the page and onto the streets during the films staggering conclusion.
I once caught only the truly disturbing finale on television when I was younger and vowed to…
John Schlesinger impressed me with Midnight Cowboy. Now he proves his excellence again with The Day of the Locust, which is both disgusting and poetic. A love story without a plot. A character study where no one is all that likable. Yet its thoroughly entertaining.
My favorite thing about Locust was how it allowed itself to be ridiculous. I love absurd humor, yelling for no reason, overdressed characters. Basically Karen Black's Faye Greener. She is painted up like a porcelain doll and seemingly incapable of maintaining a relationship. She sleeps with men as fast as others change clothes. The first man we witness most intensely is Tod Hackett, who is played sympathetically by William Atherton. He is an up and…
Somewhere between Nicolas Roeg's INSIGNIFICANCE and Bob Fosse's ALL THAT JAZZ lies John Schlesinger's THE DAY OF THE LOCUST.
A scathing critique of Hollywood, with surrealist elements that amplify the grotesqueness of the system.
The plot revolves around an art director who is pursuing a wannabe starlet. The would-be actress flirts her way around town, but in all the wrong circles. Her father is a vaudeville performer that has lost his mind, so she takes up with a psychotic hermit with a religious bent.
The film is a messy melodrama with an explosive finale.
I couldn't decide whether or not this movie was evocative or just listless. But given the fact that it has stuck with me long since I actually watched it, I would have to finally go with the former.
This is a screen adaptation of the seemingly unadaptable Nathanael West novel. To compare it to the book is pointless; if you've read the novel, you know that no movie could be anything but freely adapted. But director John Schlesinger and the team he has assembled here do a good job of sticking with West's tone and getting the important elements across. The movie is slightly tedious, and Schlesinger's efforts to play around with contrasts (mostly in the door-to-door salesman scenes featuring…
A masterpiece of 70s "Fuck you Hollywood" cinema. It turns Hollywoodland into a nightmare scape. Needs to be seen to be understood.
the ending of this movie haunts my dreams
War is hell and so is Hollywood.
The Day of the Locust follows a bunch of people trying to make it in Hollywood in the 30s and their interactions with each other. I was wondering why this movie was posted on a horror website I frequent, because it really doesn't seem like one on the surface. It wasn’t until the end of the movie that I realized why. For the most part, this is a drama. I was reminded of movies like Gone With the Wind, The Great Gatsby, and Sunset Boulevard. It certainly has the sort of air that a lot of classic movies have, even though it isn't that old.
It seemed that the tone of this is…
Towards the end of the Great Depression, Tod Hackett (William Atherton) moves to Hollywood and takes a job as a set designer. During his time on the studio lots, he paints scenes inspired by the movies he's working on.
He encounters many odd characters working on the fringe of Hollywood including Abe Kusich (Billy Barty), a midget who enjoys cock-fighting, Homer Simpson (Donald Sutherland), a dimwitted man who moved to California for health reasons, elderly vaudevillian Harry Greener (Burgess Meredith), and his daughter Faye (Karen Black).
The film climaxes with the premiere of a much-anticipated motion picture. During the frenzy outside Grauman's Chinese Theater, Homer is provoked into a fight with a boy (Jackie Earle Haley) and stomps him to…
Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, Massachusetts
I have never been a tremendous Karen Black fan, and I had a lot of trouble seeing her as the coldhearted Faye Greener. But how wrong I was! This film is worth watching because she delivers a really complex performance, achieving a portrait of a woman who is at turns cruel, vulnerable, vain, desperate, and lovable. Surprisingly, I think this film is actually better than the book. The characters are given a third dimension, and the novel's themes are enhanced by Schlesinger's avant garde direction. I was fascinated by this cruel love letter to Hollywood.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I'd like to tell you what the Day of the Locust is about, but that would take quite awhile since it doesn't follow a traditional narrative structure. Instead the film appears to be a series of scenes mashed together in order to give the viewer a look at the seedy underbelly of 1930s Hollywood. The film mostly centers around a woman who is one of the most annoying and obnoxious characters ever captured on celluloid. Somehow, despite being mentally unhinged and ridiculously manipulative, most of the males in the film are drooling all over her. The males include an art director who tries to rape her, a sexually-repressed accountant who is almost as charming as a block of wood, and…
Does for Los Angeles what Satyricon did for Rome and The Tin Drum did for Germany.
A list of 100 films that I love which may not be universally adored but have a sizable cult following..
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!