Skip to Content
Poster for The Day of the Locust
Watch trailer for The Day of the Locust Watch trailer

The Day of the Locust

Director: John Schlesinger Run Time: 144 min. Format: Digital Rating: R Release Year: 1975

Starring: , Burgess Meredith, Donald Sutherland, Karen Black, William Atherton

Love and dreams of stardom in 1930s Hollywood come crashing down in this sensational film adaptation of the Nathanael West novel. Part of our mini-retrospective series, THE WORKS: KAREN BLACK.

The Day of the Locust uses Hollywood and its locusts (aka the mass of people who arrive to make it big, the sycophants) as a metaphor for 1930s America as it moved out of the depression-era into war-time. Focusing on a love-triangle between three people: Tod Hackett as the east-coast transplant looking to become a screenwriter who becomes obsessed with Faye Greener, an aspiring actress played by Karen Black who is incapable of true feelings but interested in using the dopey Homer Simpson (yes, that’s where the name came from) for money. Add in aspiring child actors and waning vaudeville stars, and The Day of the Locust becomes a surrealist vision of the apocalypse. In the end, things come crashing down in one of the more violent, bizarre, and over-the-top scenes in film history.

In the role of Faye, Karen Black takes the emotionally unavailable, fame hungry, dreamy aspiring actress into The Day of the Locusts’ realm of insanity at the highest level.