1974 Certificate: 18


Director John Schlesinger's adaptation of Nathanael West's scathing novel about life on the fringes of Hollywood in the late 1930s. William Atherton plays the young sketch artist who moves in with Burgess Meredith's old vaudevillian and finds himself distracted by the wannabe starlet next door (Karen Black). A revealing insight into the lurid private lives of Tinseltown movers and shakers. Donald Sutherland plays a meek accountant called - no kidding - Homer Simpson, and look out for a young Jackie Earle Haley, the boy who grew up to be Freddy Krueger!


  • John Schlesinger


  • Donald Sutherland

  • William Atherton

  • Karen Black

  • Burgess Meredith


A daddy longlegs of a film, sprawling all over its story of life at the wrong end of Hollywood in the late Thirties, and finally finding its 'raison d'etre' in a long and bloody riot scene at the end.

William Atherton, then a fresh-faced newcomer, has the role on which all the action turns, as the young sketch artist who moves in with an old vaudevillian turned drunken salesman (Burgess Meredith) and his silly, virginal daughter (Karen Black).

Director John Schlesinger lovingly recreates the period (as he was to do with 'Yanks'), much of it in soft focus, intending to lend a glow of nostalgia to this adaptation of the best seller by Nathanael West, but neglecting the most important element of all: discipline...