Although lensed on location in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles, this is another of those quite successful views of the States made by talented European directors.
Wittily scripted and full of oddball twists from start to finish, Echo Park features three hapless people looking for the big break as they share an old-style duplex-apartment house in the rundown area of East Los Angeles.
May (Susan Dey) works as a waitress while dreaming of an acting career, but she also has to take care of her eight-year-old son Henry (Christopher Walker). Next door lives August (Michael Bowen), a bodybuilder from Austria who wants to become the second Arnold Schwarzenegger. May needs a tenant in her own flat to meet the payments, and this turns out to be the friendly pizza delivery boy, Jonathan (Tom Hulce), who reads books and writes poetry.
If all of this sounds vaguely like Nathaniel West’s Day of the Locust, well, no matter. Austrian helmer Robert Dornhelm has a vision of his own. Played by Dey, May is a firstclass performance in a role cut snugly to her talent. Ditto for Hulce and Bowen.