Too Big to Fail and yet…

Some movies bomb.  It happens.  Certain movies are expected to be winners with critics and audiences alike, or at least with audiences, and they just aren’t.  From Cleopatra to Waterworld, studios have poured money into a project only to see most of it go right down the drain.   There are movies that feel like they can’t lose (“It’s a big, crazy World War II comedy extravaganza, directed by Steven Spielberg!  What could possibly go wrong?”) and usually, they’re big special effects productions expected to explode that, quickly and unexpectedly, fizzle upon release.  Movies like Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla or the aforementioned Waterworld.   But there’s another kind of “too big to fail” and it has nothing to do with special effects, star-power or cashing in on a sequel and has everything to do with prestige.  They’re the movies expected to be the acclaimed picture of the year, the big award winner, the critics’ darling.  And then, they’re not.  Think Heaven’s Gate.  It’s the poster child for this type of thing (but if you’re going to malign it I would strongly advise you first read my deconstruction of the lies foisted upon it by angry critics on its release – If you’re just parroting what they said, you’re most likely criticizing things not even in the movie – yes, the lies about Heaven’s Gate are that blatant and have been repeated since the day it came out) and a cautionary tale for producers hoping for the next big thing but terrified of getting the next big bomb.

In 1939, David O. Selznick released Gone with the Wind.  It was a smash hit, critics liked it and the still young Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences lavished awards on it.    Producers everywhere, along with studio heads, wanted the same thing.  Of course, to get it, one had to take a big chance.  Large sums of money had to be invested, enormous chunks of time had to be carved out and big names from in front of and behind the camera had to be lured onto the set.   If you got another Gone with the Wind, you were set.  On the other hand, if you got another Intolerance, not so much. David O. Selznick himself tried to bring back the glory and the grandeur of his 1939 success with Duel in the Sun in 1946 but it just didn’t work.  Lightning didn’t strike twice as had been hoped and Selznick never attempted another massive production.

When I was a budding cinephile in the seventies, it seemed like every big, prestige production failed upon release and one small film after another succeeded.  That wasn’t true, of course, but that’s how it felt.  Big productions like The Godfather and Chinatown succeeded wildly with both audiences and critics while plenty of small films fell through the cracks like they always do.   But the idea of advance hype for a big prestige production really burned its way onto my psyche in the seventies as I saw one after another come tumbling down.   Catch-22 was going to be the movie of the year for 1970, until it was made and released and suddenly, M*A*S*H and Patton were the movies of the year.   New York, New York was the big movie of 1978 from wunderkind Martin Scorsese until its release at which point Coming Home and The Deer Hunter became the movies of the year.   Same goes for The Great Gatsby in 1974, Heaven’s Gate, of course, in 1980 and One from the Heart in 1982.

The thing is, I like most of these movies, even if I can recognize they are fraught with problems.  One from the Heart is a visual splendor to behold but gets weighed down by the spoken word (it really should have been a pure musical rather than majority dialogue).  Still, it’s such a joy to look at that I’d recommend it for the visuals alone.

Catch-22 is a movie I now like much better than M*A*S*H which seems now to be very rooted in a specific era while Catch-22 seems timeless, even if the quality of the jokes and how they play fluctuate unevenly from one extreme to the other.

New York, New York is another one that looks great but would have benefitted, I think, from being produced as a straightforward musical.  Also, Robert De Niro plays his character too creepily, to the point where the audience has a hard time accepting that Liza Minnelli would ever even give this guy the time of day.

And The Great Gatsby… well, I really don’t know what to say about that one.  It just doesn’t work.

But one “too big to fail”  prestige film I remembered fondly from the seventies and decided to watch again for the first time in years,  held up well on all counts and, honestly, I think it’s a pretty damn good film despite a lackluster response from critics at the time.  The movie is Day of the Locust with Donald Sutherland, Karen Black, William Atherton and Burgess Meredith.  Looking at the reviews of the time, it appears the critics were overly concerned with how well the movie had “gotten” or “not gotten” the book.  I am now, and always will be, of the mind that the movie should be taken as separate from the book entirely.  They’re two completely different ways of telling a story and frankly, Francois Truffaut had it right when he said, “The woman who leaves the theater saying, ‘I hated that film, it was exactly like the book,’ understands.”  The converse works too:  “I loved that movie, it was nothing like the book.”

Ever read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?  The book and movie tell the same rough story but in drastically different ways.  Everything story-wise that’s in the movie is related in the book second-hand by a narrator so unreliable (Chief Bromden), with so many bizarre hallucinations, that the reader has to question if R.P. McMurphy exists at all.  The movie, on the other hand, presents everything in a straightforward manner.

So, too, the novel of M*A*S*H is presented as a more constructed linear narrative while the movie travels freely from one conversation and thought to another.

In neither of those cases is the movie judged bad because it doesn’t accurately reflect the book.  I would wager most viewers of both films have never even read the books (they’re short, easy reads though if you want to) and that’s just fine by me.   The movie fails or succeeds on its own, period.  And I think, almost forty years later, The Day of the Locust succeeds.

Jay Cocks of Time Magazine, excerpted on Wikipedia, said, “[The Day of the Locust] is made with a combination of self-loathing and tenuous moral superiority. This is a movie turned out by the sort of mentality that West was mocking.”

Jonathan Rosenbaum echoed the sentiment in The Chicago Reader, also excerpted on Wikipedia, “a painfully misconceived reduction and simplification . . . of the great Nathanael West novel about Hollywood . . . It misses crucial aspects of the book’s surrealism and satire.”

Well, no.

After my experience with the Heaven’s Gate reactions (and the untruths perpetuated from one review to the next, indicating, sadly, that some (many?) critics weren’t even watching the film), it became clear that, especially up to the early nineties, pre-internet, one or two big critics would pronounce a movie alive or dead and most others would follow suit so as not to seem dumb or out of step.  It seems to have been decided early on that The Day of the Locust, the movie, had missed novelist Nathaniel West’s satirical points and foolishly endorsed the opposite.

Again: well, no.

The movie is made the only way it can be: With cameras, lights, actors and sets.  And props.  And scenes.  And all of these things somehow negate it because, ha, see, that’s what West was mocking, the artificiality of the American dream by way of the artificiality of the movies and here you are, stupid Hollywood, making a movie of it.  Or something like that.  And that’s why it’s important to take the movie and the book on their own, as separate entities.  Because The Day of the Locust, the movie, is every bit as powerful as any movie on the movie industry out there and, in my opinion, conveys the themes and metaphors of the book in exactly the right tone.  They didn’t get it wrong at all, they got it perfectly right by telling the story, cinematically, in a very different way than the book.  It’s harsh, brutal, cruel and unrelenting.  I’ve rarely beheld a more pessimistic movie but it’s point, about all this fraud and hopelessness around us is both well-presented and well-taken.

Perhaps it’s the idea of metaphor on film that rankles some.  Metaphor on the written page is sometimes easier to take than on the screen because the screen tends to bring things into reality for us.  There they are, real people in real environments, up there on the screen.  We can see the realistic sets and lighting except that the actors are playing archetypes and the scenes seem to stand for something other than what their face-value presentations would have us believe.    In a book, these archetypes, imagined in our heads, make for a more palatable metaphor as they already exist in the abstract.    Certainly The Day of the Locust is filled with metaphor and archetypes.  There’s no way around that but this aspect didn’t bother me on film.   In fact, it made it all the more interesting.

One thing all critics seemed to agree on in the positive was the acting.  William Atherton, Donald Sutherland and Karen Black were all at the top of their form.  Karen Black, in fact, was never better.  Burgess Meredith is simply brilliant in his portrayal of the former Vaudevillian clown reduced to selling “miracle” salve, door to door.  He nabbed a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance but Sutherland should have, too.  Billy Barty also shines in his role as a shady gambler/gangster type and Jackie Earle Haley, a couple of years before breaking out in The Bad News Bears is utterly unnerving as the androgynous brat who appears with menace at every turn.

Upon release, The Day of the Locust was “Too Big to Fail” but fail it did.  The critics were unimpressed and the public stayed away.   And it was a tough year to fail in, quite frankly, with movies like Nashville, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Jaws, Dog Day Afternoon and Barry Lyndon all up for the top Oscar for Best Picture.  But looking back, almost forty years later, it looks like director John Schlesinger, producer Jerome Hellman, writer Waldo Salt, cinematographer Conrad Hall and the entire excellent cast made one of the better films of the year, a film unfairly dismissed because, as with so many cases like this, expectations didn’t meet reality.  But the reality now, with the aid of a rearview mirror, shows a confident movie, cynical and pessimistic, at times blunt and ruthless, but excellent nonetheless.   Once, it was too big to fail but now, at the very least, it’s too good to dismiss.

_______________________

One footnote: The book and movie use scenes of cockfights very effectively but the scenes in the movie appear very real. I researched it and couldn’t find any protests from the American Humane Association, nor any listing of it as a “Film to Avoid” on their website.  Since they are watchdogs for this kind of thing, I can only assume that director Schlesinger did a thoroughly convincing job of making a cockfight appear real and bloody and deadly without actually endangering the birds.  However,  it does look very real and is quite disturbing.  I add this for anyone easily upset by fictional depictions of animal cruelty on film.  Here is a list of movies with actual animal cruelty in them (Heaven’s Gate among them).  

0 Response Too Big to Fail and yet…
Posted By Lamar : February 22, 2012 12:01 pm

Great post. I couldn’t agree with you more. I read the book in anticipation of the movie’s release and loved that. Still have the movie tie-in paperback. Not surprised it didn’t go over at the box office but what’s with the critics? What “highbrow for the middlebrow” epic were they soiling themselves over that year?

Posted By Lamar : February 22, 2012 12:01 pm

Great post. I couldn’t agree with you more. I read the book in anticipation of the movie’s release and loved that. Still have the movie tie-in paperback. Not surprised it didn’t go over at the box office but what’s with the critics? What “highbrow for the middlebrow” epic were they soiling themselves over that year?

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 12:33 pm

Yes, it’s a very good adaptation of the book. It translates very well to the screen, faithful to the intent of the story but presented visually in keeping with the storytelling method of cinema. I didn’t see it on the big screen but would love to. It’s kind of mesmerizing to watch, really.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 12:33 pm

Yes, it’s a very good adaptation of the book. It translates very well to the screen, faithful to the intent of the story but presented visually in keeping with the storytelling method of cinema. I didn’t see it on the big screen but would love to. It’s kind of mesmerizing to watch, really.

Posted By Juana Maria : February 22, 2012 12:57 pm

Yes, I know what you mean, there are movies that are huge “Gone with the Wind” and “Ben-Hur” and they win oscars, but “Cleopatra” and “Fall of the Roman Empire”(one of my favorite sword & sandals films) do not do so good. They are called “flops”. Sad so sad, these huge blockbusters with fakey computer graphics! I sick of these comic book movies that do no justice to the comic books back in the day. Anyway, I have always felt that “Waterworld” is “Mad Max” on the water. It is! Think about it.

Posted By Juana Maria : February 22, 2012 12:57 pm

Yes, I know what you mean, there are movies that are huge “Gone with the Wind” and “Ben-Hur” and they win oscars, but “Cleopatra” and “Fall of the Roman Empire”(one of my favorite sword & sandals films) do not do so good. They are called “flops”. Sad so sad, these huge blockbusters with fakey computer graphics! I sick of these comic book movies that do no justice to the comic books back in the day. Anyway, I have always felt that “Waterworld” is “Mad Max” on the water. It is! Think about it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 2:46 pm

The Fall of the Roman Empire is very good. I like it much more than Gladiator which covers a lot of the same ground.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 2:46 pm

The Fall of the Roman Empire is very good. I like it much more than Gladiator which covers a lot of the same ground.

Posted By DBenson : February 22, 2012 3:30 pm

“Duel in the Sun” puzzled me. It has this reputation as a huge epic, but the only epic scene I remember was a huge number of cowboys riding to the railroad construction site and being met by an equally huge cavalry force. They all line up and . . . stand there while a couple of guys argued. Then everybody goes home. Later there was what looked like a large-scale miniature engine derailing in the middle of nowhere, with Gregory Peck smiling from an insert shot.

Everything else was basic backlot western, enhanced by juicy Technicolor and juicier forbidden passion. As an over-the-top melodrama by hard-working stars it’s fun; as an epic it’s a disappointment.

Posted By DBenson : February 22, 2012 3:30 pm

“Duel in the Sun” puzzled me. It has this reputation as a huge epic, but the only epic scene I remember was a huge number of cowboys riding to the railroad construction site and being met by an equally huge cavalry force. They all line up and . . . stand there while a couple of guys argued. Then everybody goes home. Later there was what looked like a large-scale miniature engine derailing in the middle of nowhere, with Gregory Peck smiling from an insert shot.

Everything else was basic backlot western, enhanced by juicy Technicolor and juicier forbidden passion. As an over-the-top melodrama by hard-working stars it’s fun; as an epic it’s a disappointment.

Posted By JeffH : February 22, 2012 3:44 pm

DUEL IN THE SUN actually did well at the box office but due to how long it took to make it, Selznick insisting on making it a road show attraction and meddling in every aspect of it, he barely made enough money on it to pay for all the other things he was doing and he had to resort even more heavily on putting “packages” together of stars, directors and writers whom he had under contract and loaning them out to other studios to keep his head above water. Aside from PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, A FAREWELL TO ARMS and to a smaller extent, TENDER IS THE NIGHT, he never produced another film after DUEL and none of those three were successful at the box office.

Posted By JeffH : February 22, 2012 3:44 pm

DUEL IN THE SUN actually did well at the box office but due to how long it took to make it, Selznick insisting on making it a road show attraction and meddling in every aspect of it, he barely made enough money on it to pay for all the other things he was doing and he had to resort even more heavily on putting “packages” together of stars, directors and writers whom he had under contract and loaning them out to other studios to keep his head above water. Aside from PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, A FAREWELL TO ARMS and to a smaller extent, TENDER IS THE NIGHT, he never produced another film after DUEL and none of those three were successful at the box office.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 4:55 pm

Also, DBenson and Jeff, Duel in the Sun just doesn’t have the same electricity that GWTW had. Peck and Jones just don’t do it like Gable and Leigh. A Portrait to Jennie, though, is one of my favorite Selznick pictures. Dieterle was a hell of a good director.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 4:55 pm

Also, DBenson and Jeff, Duel in the Sun just doesn’t have the same electricity that GWTW had. Peck and Jones just don’t do it like Gable and Leigh. A Portrait to Jennie, though, is one of my favorite Selznick pictures. Dieterle was a hell of a good director.

Posted By AL : February 22, 2012 5:15 pm

DOTL: the astonishing climax could stand on it’s own as a short.

Posted By AL : February 22, 2012 5:15 pm

DOTL: the astonishing climax could stand on it’s own as a short.

Posted By John Maddox Roberts : February 22, 2012 6:08 pm

FANTASIA and WIZARD OF OZ were both box-office disappointments. They had to wait for theatrical re-release (Fantasia) and television release (Wizard of Oz) to find their audiences.

Posted By John Maddox Roberts : February 22, 2012 6:08 pm

FANTASIA and WIZARD OF OZ were both box-office disappointments. They had to wait for theatrical re-release (Fantasia) and television release (Wizard of Oz) to find their audiences.

Posted By muriel : February 22, 2012 7:17 pm

Agree with DBenson about Duel in the Sun. It never seemed like an epic to me – not much time passes in the film. It’s made from a short novel. What it does have is a mostly terrific cast and loads of highly enjoyable *melodrama*. Technicolor lust!

Posted By muriel : February 22, 2012 7:17 pm

Agree with DBenson about Duel in the Sun. It never seemed like an epic to me – not much time passes in the film. It’s made from a short novel. What it does have is a mostly terrific cast and loads of highly enjoyable *melodrama*. Technicolor lust!

Posted By Kevin : February 22, 2012 8:11 pm

As someone who worked on the movie Heaven’s Gate I agree with your comment about critics who make things up.

Posted By Kevin : February 22, 2012 8:11 pm

As someone who worked on the movie Heaven’s Gate I agree with your comment about critics who make things up.

Posted By andrew : February 22, 2012 9:25 pm

I probably shouldn’t get personal but…Back in the day, I am pretty sure you mocked me rather harshly when I mentioned that I liked One from the Heart. Just to prove there are no hard feelings, I will get my hands on a copy of Day of the Locust. Very much enjoyed the column and would throw out Silverado as another example of a movie that deserved better.

Posted By andrew : February 22, 2012 9:25 pm

I probably shouldn’t get personal but…Back in the day, I am pretty sure you mocked me rather harshly when I mentioned that I liked One from the Heart. Just to prove there are no hard feelings, I will get my hands on a copy of Day of the Locust. Very much enjoyed the column and would throw out Silverado as another example of a movie that deserved better.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 10:46 pm

Al, I feel that way about a lot of movies, good or bad. Sometimes I think the sea battle and chariot race are all anyone needs to see with Ben Hur, despite the fact that I think it’s a very good movie overall.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 10:46 pm

Al, I feel that way about a lot of movies, good or bad. Sometimes I think the sea battle and chariot race are all anyone needs to see with Ben Hur, despite the fact that I think it’s a very good movie overall.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 10:47 pm

John, I don’t think Day of the Locust is going to find an audience anytime soon. Or ever.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 10:47 pm

John, I don’t think Day of the Locust is going to find an audience anytime soon. Or ever.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 10:49 pm

Muriel, I think the best person in the cast is Lionel Barrymore. Peck and Jones are good but, at least here, they don’t seem very charismatic. To me, at least.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 10:49 pm

Muriel, I think the best person in the cast is Lionel Barrymore. Peck and Jones are good but, at least here, they don’t seem very charismatic. To me, at least.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 10:51 pm

Kevin, they’ve been doing it for years. There’s a lot more chance these days for everyone to see a movie and judge for themselves.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 10:51 pm

Kevin, they’ve been doing it for years. There’s a lot more chance these days for everyone to see a movie and judge for themselves.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 11:00 pm

Andrew, I swear I don’t remember ever doing that. I really don’t remember discussing this movie at all but I’ve forgotten so much more than I’ve ever learned, what the hell, maybe I did. If so, I offer my sincere apologies. At the same time, I should link to this piece on Cinema Styles to present a clearer picture of how I feel about it. I don’t exactly love it. I’m in love with its design and music but hated the dialogue and its delivery. I’d recommend, as I said, based on the production design and music more than anything else.

Good luck on Day of the Locust. It’s out of print and not for sale or rental but you can pick up a used copy on DVD on Amazon or maybe even find it at a local brick and mortar video store somewhere. I’ve had my DVD for years, before it went out of print. No extra features, really, just the movie but that’s all I’m interested in anyway.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 22, 2012 11:00 pm

Andrew, I swear I don’t remember ever doing that. I really don’t remember discussing this movie at all but I’ve forgotten so much more than I’ve ever learned, what the hell, maybe I did. If so, I offer my sincere apologies. At the same time, I should link to this piece on Cinema Styles to present a clearer picture of how I feel about it. I don’t exactly love it. I’m in love with its design and music but hated the dialogue and its delivery. I’d recommend, as I said, based on the production design and music more than anything else.

Good luck on Day of the Locust. It’s out of print and not for sale or rental but you can pick up a used copy on DVD on Amazon or maybe even find it at a local brick and mortar video store somewhere. I’ve had my DVD for years, before it went out of print. No extra features, really, just the movie but that’s all I’m interested in anyway.

Posted By CherieP : February 23, 2012 1:48 am

I love the flower in the crack of the wall of Todd’s apartment. ‘Early earthquake’.

Posted By CherieP : February 23, 2012 1:48 am

I love the flower in the crack of the wall of Todd’s apartment. ‘Early earthquake’.

Posted By Christopher : February 23, 2012 2:46 am

Duel In The Sun is a heck of a lot of fun if you watch it without any high expectations or for the first time without knowing anything about it, which the way I first saw it,and under the influence of some purple barrel Mescaline :o))

Posted By Christopher : February 23, 2012 2:46 am

Duel In The Sun is a heck of a lot of fun if you watch it without any high expectations or for the first time without knowing anything about it, which the way I first saw it,and under the influence of some purple barrel Mescaline :o))

Posted By Harvey Chartrand : February 23, 2012 10:13 am

THE FORTUNE was released in May 1975, the same month as THE DAY OF THE LOCUST, with which it bears certain similarities. This dark comedy about two shnooks trying to fleece a ditzy heiress of her wealth was set in the 1920s. THE FORTUNE starred Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson and was directed by Mike Nichols. The two stars and the director were at the peak of their box office glory, and yet THE FORTUNE was a big flop. Why did THE FORTUNE (with all that star power) tank at the box office? Who knows? But Beatty and Nicholson went on to make many successful pictures until fairly recently, as age caught up with them. Whereas the failure of THE DAY OF THE LOCUST put the brakes on the careers of Karen Black and William Atherton, who were both marvellous in the picture as star-crossed lovers. Black was a hot property in the Hollywood of the early seventies, but after LOCUST her career nosedived and she started turning up in many low-budget horror movies. She became known as a “scream queen.” William Atherton, who was being groomed for leading man roles, had to shift gears and play character parts (mainly villains and jerks) after the failure of LOCUST and THE HINDENBURG (also released in 1975), and he is fondly remembered today for his gallery of douchebag roles, sharing the screen with the likes of Pauly Shore, Tim and Eric and the Jersey Shore crowd. The parts got smaller and the films cruddier. Terrible waste of talent, but that’s showbiz.

Posted By Harvey Chartrand : February 23, 2012 10:13 am

THE FORTUNE was released in May 1975, the same month as THE DAY OF THE LOCUST, with which it bears certain similarities. This dark comedy about two shnooks trying to fleece a ditzy heiress of her wealth was set in the 1920s. THE FORTUNE starred Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson and was directed by Mike Nichols. The two stars and the director were at the peak of their box office glory, and yet THE FORTUNE was a big flop. Why did THE FORTUNE (with all that star power) tank at the box office? Who knows? But Beatty and Nicholson went on to make many successful pictures until fairly recently, as age caught up with them. Whereas the failure of THE DAY OF THE LOCUST put the brakes on the careers of Karen Black and William Atherton, who were both marvellous in the picture as star-crossed lovers. Black was a hot property in the Hollywood of the early seventies, but after LOCUST her career nosedived and she started turning up in many low-budget horror movies. She became known as a “scream queen.” William Atherton, who was being groomed for leading man roles, had to shift gears and play character parts (mainly villains and jerks) after the failure of LOCUST and THE HINDENBURG (also released in 1975), and he is fondly remembered today for his gallery of douchebag roles, sharing the screen with the likes of Pauly Shore, Tim and Eric and the Jersey Shore crowd. The parts got smaller and the films cruddier. Terrible waste of talent, but that’s showbiz.

Posted By Tony Dayoub : February 23, 2012 10:34 am

I haven’t seen DAY OF THE LOCUST but I’m more willing too after this write-up (which I stopped reading all the way through once you start getting into the movie’s specifics). But to answer why that film, which you don’t find anything particularly wrong with, may not appeal to audiences, I think it has to do with Atherton. A good actor, Atherton doesn’t necessarily project the typical qualities of a leading man. But even if looked at as a character actor, he just doesn’t come across as particularly charismatic.

Why do I say he’s a good actor, then? Because there’s a certain authenticity to his characters when he’s playing a bland, bureaucratic, smarmy type. But outside of this narrow scope, he’s not very appealing.

Posted By Tony Dayoub : February 23, 2012 10:34 am

I haven’t seen DAY OF THE LOCUST but I’m more willing too after this write-up (which I stopped reading all the way through once you start getting into the movie’s specifics). But to answer why that film, which you don’t find anything particularly wrong with, may not appeal to audiences, I think it has to do with Atherton. A good actor, Atherton doesn’t necessarily project the typical qualities of a leading man. But even if looked at as a character actor, he just doesn’t come across as particularly charismatic.

Why do I say he’s a good actor, then? Because there’s a certain authenticity to his characters when he’s playing a bland, bureaucratic, smarmy type. But outside of this narrow scope, he’s not very appealing.

Posted By Harvey Chartrand : February 23, 2012 11:12 am

William Atherton is sensational in a sympathetic role as a sad old man in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (2007). The problem is… Atherton only has about 10 minutes of screen time. There’s a great moment where Atherton’s character saves the life of a homeless person (Mark Margolis). But even though Atherton is terrific, I wouldn’t recommend THE GIRL NEXT DOOR because of its deeply disturbing subject matter, based on a true story of child abuse in the 1950s.

Posted By Harvey Chartrand : February 23, 2012 11:12 am

William Atherton is sensational in a sympathetic role as a sad old man in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (2007). The problem is… Atherton only has about 10 minutes of screen time. There’s a great moment where Atherton’s character saves the life of a homeless person (Mark Margolis). But even though Atherton is terrific, I wouldn’t recommend THE GIRL NEXT DOOR because of its deeply disturbing subject matter, based on a true story of child abuse in the 1950s.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 23, 2012 12:12 pm

Cherie – I really love that, too. It’s the very last shot in the movie that the credits roll over.

Christopher – I imagine most movies would be interesting to look at under the influence of mescaline. You’re probably the only one who’s done it with Duel in the Sun though.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 23, 2012 12:12 pm

Cherie – I really love that, too. It’s the very last shot in the movie that the credits roll over.

Christopher – I imagine most movies would be interesting to look at under the influence of mescaline. You’re probably the only one who’s done it with Duel in the Sun though.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 23, 2012 12:19 pm

Harvey and Tony – William Atherton may not have a natural charisma as a leading man but he is an excellent character actor and that’s what the part calls for anyway. His character is more of an observer (it’s usually stated that his character is the locust, or destroyer, of the title but, honestly, destruction follows the Karen Black character around more so and she seems a more likely candidate).

Also, the film is absolutely relentless in its cynicism about humanity so I honestly think that’s what kept the audiences away. I imagine the word of mouth was along the lines of “Yeah, it was good but my God, what a downer!” That doesn’t drive up box office.

Harvey – I’ve seen The Girl Next Door too. Didn’t really like it at all but I thought Atherton was excellent in his small part. It really is a shame his career went downhill. He was also very, very good in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. I’ve written a whole post here about him before and how much I like him as an actor.

I saw The Fortune when it came out and all I remember now is Nicholson outside the plane looking in the window. As such, I’m kind of curious about it. Think I’ll track it down and give it another look.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 23, 2012 12:19 pm

Harvey and Tony – William Atherton may not have a natural charisma as a leading man but he is an excellent character actor and that’s what the part calls for anyway. His character is more of an observer (it’s usually stated that his character is the locust, or destroyer, of the title but, honestly, destruction follows the Karen Black character around more so and she seems a more likely candidate).

Also, the film is absolutely relentless in its cynicism about humanity so I honestly think that’s what kept the audiences away. I imagine the word of mouth was along the lines of “Yeah, it was good but my God, what a downer!” That doesn’t drive up box office.

Harvey – I’ve seen The Girl Next Door too. Didn’t really like it at all but I thought Atherton was excellent in his small part. It really is a shame his career went downhill. He was also very, very good in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. I’ve written a whole post here about him before and how much I like him as an actor.

I saw The Fortune when it came out and all I remember now is Nicholson outside the plane looking in the window. As such, I’m kind of curious about it. Think I’ll track it down and give it another look.

Posted By Kingrat : February 23, 2012 1:25 pm

William Atherton fans should try to see the TV production of THE HOUSE OF MIRTH. He, Geraldine Chaplin, and Lois Smith are just about perfection in the main roles. I don’t think this has ever been on DVD. Atherton is convincing in period roles. He seems genuinely smart and nice, and the lack of any bad boy vibe may have doomed him as a leading man.

Posted By Kingrat : February 23, 2012 1:25 pm

William Atherton fans should try to see the TV production of THE HOUSE OF MIRTH. He, Geraldine Chaplin, and Lois Smith are just about perfection in the main roles. I don’t think this has ever been on DVD. Atherton is convincing in period roles. He seems genuinely smart and nice, and the lack of any bad boy vibe may have doomed him as a leading man.

Posted By Anonymous : February 23, 2012 4:39 pm

Maybe this was more a case of “Too Sad To Succeed”; when have downbeat movies ever been really succesful? I don’t claim to be very profound when i think that most people shy away from a “downer” movie.
I saw Day of the Locust about 20 years ago and liked it, confusing though i found it then. But then i’m one of those people who actually likes to watch a depressing movie now and again. Not too often, but still…..

Posted By Anonymous : February 23, 2012 4:39 pm

Maybe this was more a case of “Too Sad To Succeed”; when have downbeat movies ever been really succesful? I don’t claim to be very profound when i think that most people shy away from a “downer” movie.
I saw Day of the Locust about 20 years ago and liked it, confusing though i found it then. But then i’m one of those people who actually likes to watch a depressing movie now and again. Not too often, but still…..

Posted By Emgee : February 23, 2012 4:49 pm

Maybe this was a case of “Too Sad to Succeed”; i don’t think i’m being very profound when i say that most people shy away from a “downbeat” movie. Are there truly sad movies that have been really succesful? Tearjerkers, yes, but otherwise difficult, uncomfortable movies without an at least somewhat happy ending?
I saw DAY OF THE LOCUST about 20 years ago and liked it, although i found it somewhat confusing, and probably didn’t “get” a lot of the metaphors. But now i’m so much more mature ( Ha!) i’d like to see it again after reading your post.

Posted By Emgee : February 23, 2012 4:49 pm

Maybe this was a case of “Too Sad to Succeed”; i don’t think i’m being very profound when i say that most people shy away from a “downbeat” movie. Are there truly sad movies that have been really succesful? Tearjerkers, yes, but otherwise difficult, uncomfortable movies without an at least somewhat happy ending?
I saw DAY OF THE LOCUST about 20 years ago and liked it, although i found it somewhat confusing, and probably didn’t “get” a lot of the metaphors. But now i’m so much more mature ( Ha!) i’d like to see it again after reading your post.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : February 23, 2012 4:58 pm

I enjoyed this, Greg. I caught the last half of DAY OF LOCUST playing on TV again recently and I was reminded of how good it was. I haven’t seen it in ages but I want to watch it again. A lot of the imagery in the film is really memorable.

“I am now, and always will be, of the mind that the movie should be taken as separate from the book entirely. They’re two completely different ways of telling a story”

Couldn’t agree more. But occasionally a film fails so badly to convey anything that made the original book memorable (I’m looking at you, POSSESSION! Neil LaBute slaughtered that book) that it’s impossible not to get defensive and more than a little peeved over it.

“it became clear that, especially up to the early nineties, pre-internet, one or two big critics would pronounce a movie alive or dead and most others would follow suit so as not to seem dumb or out of step.”

Sing it! This is one of many reasons why I find so much film criticism hard to read.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : February 23, 2012 4:58 pm

I enjoyed this, Greg. I caught the last half of DAY OF LOCUST playing on TV again recently and I was reminded of how good it was. I haven’t seen it in ages but I want to watch it again. A lot of the imagery in the film is really memorable.

“I am now, and always will be, of the mind that the movie should be taken as separate from the book entirely. They’re two completely different ways of telling a story”

Couldn’t agree more. But occasionally a film fails so badly to convey anything that made the original book memorable (I’m looking at you, POSSESSION! Neil LaBute slaughtered that book) that it’s impossible not to get defensive and more than a little peeved over it.

“it became clear that, especially up to the early nineties, pre-internet, one or two big critics would pronounce a movie alive or dead and most others would follow suit so as not to seem dumb or out of step.”

Sing it! This is one of many reasons why I find so much film criticism hard to read.

Posted By nolotrippen : February 23, 2012 5:51 pm

You neglected to mention John Barry’s outstanding score for Day of the Locust!

Posted By nolotrippen : February 23, 2012 5:51 pm

You neglected to mention John Barry’s outstanding score for Day of the Locust!

Posted By JeffH : February 23, 2012 11:26 pm

I was in Amoeba Music in Hollywood today and went into the Drama section of DVDs and guess what was right in the front of the “D’s?” You got it-THE DAY OF THE LOCUST. Needless to say I snatched it up and am currently making a back-up disc for my archive since it is OOP. Anyone interested?

Posted By JeffH : February 23, 2012 11:26 pm

I was in Amoeba Music in Hollywood today and went into the Drama section of DVDs and guess what was right in the front of the “D’s?” You got it-THE DAY OF THE LOCUST. Needless to say I snatched it up and am currently making a back-up disc for my archive since it is OOP. Anyone interested?

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 23, 2012 11:37 pm

Kingrat, thanks for the rec, I’ll see if I can find that.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 23, 2012 11:37 pm

Kingrat, thanks for the rec, I’ll see if I can find that.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 23, 2012 11:38 pm

Emgee, I agree. Like I said up further in the comments, I imagine the word of mouth was mainly about what a downer the film was, and that doesn’t appeal to the majority of filmgoers. Definitely give it another look if you can find it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 23, 2012 11:38 pm

Emgee, I agree. Like I said up further in the comments, I imagine the word of mouth was mainly about what a downer the film was, and that doesn’t appeal to the majority of filmgoers. Definitely give it another look if you can find it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 23, 2012 11:52 pm

Kimberly, there are definitely a few adaptations of books that fail miserably, period. Agreed.

As for film criticism, you and I have long been on the same page with that. I remember reading so much criticism, and parroting it in my teens to people like my friend Andrew (Thank God there was no internet back then for me to spew my ignorance for all to see) and then starting to notice, let’s just say, problems. Things criticized by several critics that weren’t even in the movie. Everyone mysteriously harping on the same point while ignoring a much bigger problem or perhaps even missing a really great quality the film had. And then, by my early twenties, I started to completely abandon most film criticism as the work of journalism majors with little lifelong love of film and a great ability to parrot whatever the big boys said.

When I started reading bloggers, people who were writing online because they had always loved film deeply, I suddenly starting learning about and seeing so many movies I had never heard of, or heard of but they had been dismissed, or seen well-established movies intelligently and rationally re-evaluated. It was a real eye-opener and while the established critics resisted for years, they finally got on board themselves. I’ve had online arguments with Jonathan Rosenbaum, for instance. Roger Ebert engages his readers online now. No longer can the biggest critics write a shoddily written or researched essay on film and not be immediately challenged by hundreds or thousands of knowledgeable film lovers. In the end, I believe, it’s made everyone, if not a lot more honest, a lot more aware that their words don’t exist in a vacuum, dictated down to the masses from Mount Olympus. And that’s a good thing.

And yes, it was going back to Heaven’s Gate years later that really confirmed it for me. As I dissected in my essay, Roger Ebert wrote one statement after another that was untrue and demonstrably so. That review would have had “bullsh*t” called on it now but in 1980, he got away with it and a not-that-bad movie had its reputation effectively ruined forever.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 23, 2012 11:52 pm

Kimberly, there are definitely a few adaptations of books that fail miserably, period. Agreed.

As for film criticism, you and I have long been on the same page with that. I remember reading so much criticism, and parroting it in my teens to people like my friend Andrew (Thank God there was no internet back then for me to spew my ignorance for all to see) and then starting to notice, let’s just say, problems. Things criticized by several critics that weren’t even in the movie. Everyone mysteriously harping on the same point while ignoring a much bigger problem or perhaps even missing a really great quality the film had. And then, by my early twenties, I started to completely abandon most film criticism as the work of journalism majors with little lifelong love of film and a great ability to parrot whatever the big boys said.

When I started reading bloggers, people who were writing online because they had always loved film deeply, I suddenly starting learning about and seeing so many movies I had never heard of, or heard of but they had been dismissed, or seen well-established movies intelligently and rationally re-evaluated. It was a real eye-opener and while the established critics resisted for years, they finally got on board themselves. I’ve had online arguments with Jonathan Rosenbaum, for instance. Roger Ebert engages his readers online now. No longer can the biggest critics write a shoddily written or researched essay on film and not be immediately challenged by hundreds or thousands of knowledgeable film lovers. In the end, I believe, it’s made everyone, if not a lot more honest, a lot more aware that their words don’t exist in a vacuum, dictated down to the masses from Mount Olympus. And that’s a good thing.

And yes, it was going back to Heaven’s Gate years later that really confirmed it for me. As I dissected in my essay, Roger Ebert wrote one statement after another that was untrue and demonstrably so. That review would have had “bullsh*t” called on it now but in 1980, he got away with it and a not-that-bad movie had its reputation effectively ruined forever.

Posted By dukeroberts : February 23, 2012 11:53 pm

Greg- You write about a movie, get us all interested in it, we long to see it again or for some of us, the first time, and then and only then, you tell us that it’s out of print and can’t even be rented. Shame on you, young man.

Posted By dukeroberts : February 23, 2012 11:53 pm

Greg- You write about a movie, get us all interested in it, we long to see it again or for some of us, the first time, and then and only then, you tell us that it’s out of print and can’t even be rented. Shame on you, young man.

Posted By tdraicer : February 23, 2012 11:59 pm

Cleopatra eventually made a profit when sold to tv, and if it hadn’t cost so much would have been a hit; people did go to see it in large numbers, just not large enough for the budget. (I have problems with Liz in the first part-she gets better playing opposite Burton-but the literate script, the music, and the generally excellent cast make it work for me overall.)

Still haven’t seen Day of the Locust, I’m moderately ashamed to admit.

Posted By tdraicer : February 23, 2012 11:59 pm

Cleopatra eventually made a profit when sold to tv, and if it hadn’t cost so much would have been a hit; people did go to see it in large numbers, just not large enough for the budget. (I have problems with Liz in the first part-she gets better playing opposite Burton-but the literate script, the music, and the generally excellent cast make it work for me overall.)

Still haven’t seen Day of the Locust, I’m moderately ashamed to admit.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 24, 2012 12:06 am

duke – Ha, yeah, maybe I should’ve picked a different movie. While it may be out of print, I checked and there are plenty of the 2005 transfer available on Amazon at very good prices. That’s where I bought mine for something like five bucks. So, it’s just a tiny bit more than the cost of a rental.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 24, 2012 12:06 am

duke – Ha, yeah, maybe I should’ve picked a different movie. While it may be out of print, I checked and there are plenty of the 2005 transfer available on Amazon at very good prices. That’s where I bought mine for something like five bucks. So, it’s just a tiny bit more than the cost of a rental.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 24, 2012 12:10 am

tdraicer – I thought of you when I started this piece because I was going to mention Tora! Tora! Tora! too, a movie you and I both like, as a big, prestige picture that didn’t win the awards and critical notices it was expected to. But since it was from 1970 and I already had Catch-22 in there, I left it off.

And hey, most people haven’t seen Day of the Locust. Plus, I have no doubt that some will see it and think, “What in the hell was Greg thinking?” Roll the dice, take your chances.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 24, 2012 12:10 am

tdraicer – I thought of you when I started this piece because I was going to mention Tora! Tora! Tora! too, a movie you and I both like, as a big, prestige picture that didn’t win the awards and critical notices it was expected to. But since it was from 1970 and I already had Catch-22 in there, I left it off.

And hey, most people haven’t seen Day of the Locust. Plus, I have no doubt that some will see it and think, “What in the hell was Greg thinking?” Roll the dice, take your chances.

Posted By John Maddox Roberts : February 24, 2012 2:13 am

I referenced “Heaven’s Gate” in one of my novels, in which one of my characters, a middling producer of the mid-90s, tells a friend of seeing Cimino on a talk show (which I personally witnessed) making a total hash of answering critics concerning his cost overruns. He spent most of the time looking at the floor and mumbling like an embarassed schoolkid, when it should have been so easy to set the record straight. One reason directors fall easily to this sort of attack is that the drectors themselves (not all of them) tend to be inarticulate. They are visual artists and are often inept with any sort of dialogue that is not scripted.

Posted By John Maddox Roberts : February 24, 2012 2:13 am

I referenced “Heaven’s Gate” in one of my novels, in which one of my characters, a middling producer of the mid-90s, tells a friend of seeing Cimino on a talk show (which I personally witnessed) making a total hash of answering critics concerning his cost overruns. He spent most of the time looking at the floor and mumbling like an embarassed schoolkid, when it should have been so easy to set the record straight. One reason directors fall easily to this sort of attack is that the drectors themselves (not all of them) tend to be inarticulate. They are visual artists and are often inept with any sort of dialogue that is not scripted.

Posted By Harvey Chartrand : February 24, 2012 2:45 pm

Dramatic Climax Scene From “The Day of the Locust” 1975

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pp14CdBci0

The apocalyptic riot scene at the Hollywood premiere is the high point of William Atherton’s screen career. Brilliant direction, editing and cinematography. John Barry’s scary horror music starts at 05:50 in this harrowing 10-minute sequence. Director John Schlesinger claimed he didn’t want a charismatic actor for the role of Tod Hackett, but Atherton, then 27, had the requisite good looks for leading man roles. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST is the best film about Hollywood ever made, better than SUNSET BLVD., THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, A STAR IS BORN (1954), WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH HELEN?, PLAY IT AS IT LAYS, THE LAST TYCOON, WON TON TON: THE DOG WHO SAVED HOLLYWOOD, etc… Paramount’s marketing department just didn’t know how to sell THE DAY OF THE LOCUST.

Posted By Harvey Chartrand : February 24, 2012 2:45 pm

Dramatic Climax Scene From “The Day of the Locust” 1975

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pp14CdBci0

The apocalyptic riot scene at the Hollywood premiere is the high point of William Atherton’s screen career. Brilliant direction, editing and cinematography. John Barry’s scary horror music starts at 05:50 in this harrowing 10-minute sequence. Director John Schlesinger claimed he didn’t want a charismatic actor for the role of Tod Hackett, but Atherton, then 27, had the requisite good looks for leading man roles. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST is the best film about Hollywood ever made, better than SUNSET BLVD., THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, A STAR IS BORN (1954), WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH HELEN?, PLAY IT AS IT LAYS, THE LAST TYCOON, WON TON TON: THE DOG WHO SAVED HOLLYWOOD, etc… Paramount’s marketing department just didn’t know how to sell THE DAY OF THE LOCUST.

Posted By dukeroberts : February 24, 2012 10:19 pm

Better than Sunset Boulevard? Okay, you can’t be serious. Now I definitely have to see this movie.

Posted By dukeroberts : February 24, 2012 10:19 pm

Better than Sunset Boulevard? Okay, you can’t be serious. Now I definitely have to see this movie.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 25, 2012 11:08 pm

One reason directors fall easily to this sort of attack is that the drectors themselves (not all of them) tend to be inarticulate. They are visual artists and are often inept with any sort of dialogue that is not scripted.

I’ve found that’s true with many people in the arts which is why they express themselves so well in their chosen medium. It’s their comfort zone for communication. Cimino always seemed very reclusive in the first place so I don’t imagine he’d do well in that type of situation.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 25, 2012 11:08 pm

One reason directors fall easily to this sort of attack is that the drectors themselves (not all of them) tend to be inarticulate. They are visual artists and are often inept with any sort of dialogue that is not scripted.

I’ve found that’s true with many people in the arts which is why they express themselves so well in their chosen medium. It’s their comfort zone for communication. Cimino always seemed very reclusive in the first place so I don’t imagine he’d do well in that type of situation.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 25, 2012 11:10 pm

Harvey and Duke: I, of course, like Day of the Locust a lot. I mean, obviously, because I wrote this piece. But my own ranking would put Sunset Boulevard ahead of it. Of course, it depends what you’re saying. Both movies succeed in mining the underbelly of Hollywood but I like the noir essence of Sunset Boulevard more. In the end, I’d rather take them both as two very good sides of the same coin.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 25, 2012 11:10 pm

Harvey and Duke: I, of course, like Day of the Locust a lot. I mean, obviously, because I wrote this piece. But my own ranking would put Sunset Boulevard ahead of it. Of course, it depends what you’re saying. Both movies succeed in mining the underbelly of Hollywood but I like the noir essence of Sunset Boulevard more. In the end, I’d rather take them both as two very good sides of the same coin.

Posted By Qalice : February 29, 2012 3:30 pm

Greg,thanks so much for reminding me of a film that I dismissed when I saw it as “icky and depressing”. Years later, I read the book and loved it — and the clip above (thanks, Harvey!) reminds me of the gathering horror of the novel. I can’t wait to track this down and see it again!

BTW, I’m surprised no one’s mentioned it — but Cimino was doing a lot of cocaine around the time of “Heaven’s Gate”. A lot of it, bassed on the report of a friend who worked on the film. He was hardly alone, but it’s clear he didn’t handle it well.

Posted By Qalice : February 29, 2012 3:30 pm

Greg,thanks so much for reminding me of a film that I dismissed when I saw it as “icky and depressing”. Years later, I read the book and loved it — and the clip above (thanks, Harvey!) reminds me of the gathering horror of the novel. I can’t wait to track this down and see it again!

BTW, I’m surprised no one’s mentioned it — but Cimino was doing a lot of cocaine around the time of “Heaven’s Gate”. A lot of it, bassed on the report of a friend who worked on the film. He was hardly alone, but it’s clear he didn’t handle it well.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 29, 2012 3:55 pm

Qalice, I hope when you find it you like it a lot more this time. I think you will.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : February 29, 2012 3:55 pm

Qalice, I hope when you find it you like it a lot more this time. I think you will.

Posted By Harvey Chartrand : March 13, 2012 10:29 am

I’d like to enjoy William Atherton’s performance as gangster Earle Swinter in TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE but the clips of the film I’ve seen really turned me off. TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE is so relentlessly unfunny and cheap-looking (despite its misleading title) that I don’t think I could sit through this 93-minute “comedy” just to catch a few glimpses of Atherton in action. The two leads (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) are colorless dullards. Why can’t Atherton land good character parts in quality motion pictures? He’s had better luck with television in recent years: memorable guest appearances on LOST, CASTLE, LAW AND ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, LIFE and even DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. And yet, no matter what dreck Atherton turns up in, he always delivers a stellar performance!

Posted By Harvey Chartrand : March 13, 2012 10:29 am

I’d like to enjoy William Atherton’s performance as gangster Earle Swinter in TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE but the clips of the film I’ve seen really turned me off. TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE is so relentlessly unfunny and cheap-looking (despite its misleading title) that I don’t think I could sit through this 93-minute “comedy” just to catch a few glimpses of Atherton in action. The two leads (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) are colorless dullards. Why can’t Atherton land good character parts in quality motion pictures? He’s had better luck with television in recent years: memorable guest appearances on LOST, CASTLE, LAW AND ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, LIFE and even DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. And yet, no matter what dreck Atherton turns up in, he always delivers a stellar performance!

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 13, 2012 9:23 pm

Yeah, I’ll pass on TIM AND ERIC’s too. He’s done a lot of good work on tv, it’s true. He’s had a good career but I wish he’d had a great one. He had the talent for it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 13, 2012 9:23 pm

Yeah, I’ll pass on TIM AND ERIC’s too. He’s done a lot of good work on tv, it’s true. He’s had a good career but I wish he’d had a great one. He had the talent for it.

Posted By Harvey Chartrand : March 23, 2012 12:52 pm

This looks to be a giant step up for veteran actor nonpareil William Atherton.

Great news from Indiewire:

“Crackle (the digital network and studio owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment) is getting into long-form series with “The Unknown,” a horror and suspense anthology show about unexplained phenomena that will consist of six half-hour installments.

Frances Fisher, Jay R. Ferguson (“Mad Men”), William Atherton and Taryn Manning (“Hustle and Flow”) are slated to star in various episodes, while Kevin Connolly (yes, E from “Entourage”), effects guy Sam Nicholson and Martha Coolidge (of “Real Genius” [in which Atherton co-starred as a douchebag physics professor] and “Valley Girl”) will all take on directing duties.

The series is the creation of Chris Collins, a producer on “Sons of Anarchy.”

It’s nice to know that 28 years on, Atherton is back in Ghostbusters mode.

Posted By Harvey Chartrand : March 23, 2012 12:52 pm

This looks to be a giant step up for veteran actor nonpareil William Atherton.

Great news from Indiewire:

“Crackle (the digital network and studio owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment) is getting into long-form series with “The Unknown,” a horror and suspense anthology show about unexplained phenomena that will consist of six half-hour installments.

Frances Fisher, Jay R. Ferguson (“Mad Men”), William Atherton and Taryn Manning (“Hustle and Flow”) are slated to star in various episodes, while Kevin Connolly (yes, E from “Entourage”), effects guy Sam Nicholson and Martha Coolidge (of “Real Genius” [in which Atherton co-starred as a douchebag physics professor] and “Valley Girl”) will all take on directing duties.

The series is the creation of Chris Collins, a producer on “Sons of Anarchy.”

It’s nice to know that 28 years on, Atherton is back in Ghostbusters mode.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 23, 2012 1:26 pm

Walter Peck lives!

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 23, 2012 1:26 pm

Walter Peck lives!

Leave a Reply

Current ye@r *

As of November 1, 2017 FilmStruck’s blog, StreamLine, has moved to Tumblr.

Please visit us there!

http://filmstruck.tumblr.com/tagged/streamline-blog

 Streamline is the official blog of FilmStruck, a new subscription service that offers film aficionados a comprehensive library of films including an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic art house, indie, foreign and cult films.