Many critics found the film poor, and it did not do well at the box office. Pauline Kelly The New Yorker said it “has no emotional center.” although Roger Ebert The Chicago Sun-Times liked Mr. Sutherland’s performance, finding that most of the characters were clearly doomed to care.
But Mr Canby wrote in The Times that the film was “notable in many ways”, declaring its subject a metaphor for the collapse of Western civilization and “second rate as a way of life”.
Judith Crist, then acclaimed founding film critic for New York Magazine, praised “The Day of the Grasshopper” in a full-page review. The film is “so spectacular”, she began, “so dazzling and its effects, so impotently exaggerated” that you want to avoid looking at it like a direct solar eclipse. He concluded, “To call it the best film of the past several years is to belittle it.”
The National Board of Review named it one of the 10 best films of the year.
Jerome Hellman was born on September 4, 1928, in Manhattan, to Romanian-born insurance broker Abraham J. Hellman and Ethel (Greenstein) were Hellman’s second child. After high school, he served two years in the Marine Corps, then began his working life as an envoy in the New York office of Ashley-Steiner, a talent agency.
He rose through the ranks and, in 1957, established his own agency before turning 30. But he sold that business in 1963 and became a full-time filmmaker, starting with George Roy Hills Comedy “The World of Henry the Orient” (1964). Peter Sellers Played the title role, a New York concert pianist who is trying to start a relationship with a married woman but is being chased by two loving teenage girls. The film received good reviews and became a hit too.
His other films as producer were Irwin Kershner’s “A Fine Madness” (1966), starring Sean Connery as a poet with writer’s block, and “Promise in the Dark” (1979), in which Marsha Mason starred as a doctor treating a teenage cancer patient. It was the only film Mr Hellman had ever directed, and only because Mr Schlesinger, who was supposed to do so, dropped out.