The Day of the Locust
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Time Out saysSchlesinger'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.