The Day of the Locust

  • Film
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Schlesinger's misguided version of Nathanael West's cynical classic about a tormented Tinseltown, peopled by no-hopers trying in vain to work their way into the glamorous, starry life of the Hollywood studios. Admittedly the book, an elusive, mesmeric work of associated images and ideas, surreal and analytical, would present problems for the most talented of film-makers. But Schlesinger really blows it. West's thin plot is stretched out to excessive length, with little sense of pace or the significance of events; the characters are cut down, stranded without pasts and motivations; images are emphasised with no sense of context; the narrative is often confused and confusing. Only the hysterical holocaust at the end of the film gives any idea of West's conception, and even then the power of the scene is betrayed by a pathetic, superfluous coda.

Release details

Duration: 143 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Schlesinger
Screenwriter: Waldo Salt
Cast: Donald Sutherland
Karen Black
Burgess Meredith
William Atherton
Geraldine Page
Richard A Dysart
Bo Hopkins
Jackie Earle Haley
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