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The Day of the Locust

by John Schlesinger
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Painter Tod Hackett arrives in Los Angeles in the 1930s to work in the art department at Paramount and falls in love with bit player Faye Greener. Like so many of the small-time actors in their neighbourhood, Faye dreams of a glorious Hollywood career. Although she also dreams of a rich husband, she actually tends to get involved with losers and, in the end, prostitutes herself. The only place she finds refuge is with Homer Simpson, a simple bookkeeper… In the novel, Nathanael West portrays Hollywood as a Sodom of mendacity and superficiality. The film version made by Britain’s John Schlesinger also takes the tack of unmasking the dream factory that devours people, but it tempers the apocalyptic moral portrait with glamorous production design in line with the trend to nostalgia in the 1970s.
The restoration impressively brings to the fore the tremendous production values of The Day of the Locust. With costumes and sets that establish the historical scene, the introspective studio production belongs among the most visually resplendent films to come from New Hollywood.

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