FORGOTTEN HI-QUALITY DRAMA RELEVANT TODAY IN 2008
IMDB does not do enough justice to LOCUSTS and someone should write up a better synopis of this forgotten, made-for-television movie back in 1974.
Back in the early 1970s, the television networks regularly produced made-for-television movies that by today's standards, were economically financed, yet capable of very good to excellent quality production and acting values. For reasons not clear even today, the television networks largley ceased those television productions by the 1980s.
LOCUSTS is very relevant to 2008 since the U.S. has been at war since 2002 and the length of time produced military veterans with physical, mental, and emotional traumas. I think LOCUSTS may have been ahead of its time, which is why it was quickly forgotten.
The plot of LOCUSTS is straightforward. It approximately the summer of 1944 during WWII. Ron Howard is a discharged military aviator, returning to his Midwestern hometown. We learn Ron Howard's character had been discharged from the military on psychological grounds. Evidently Ron Howard's character became emotionally and psychologically burnt-out due to the stress of combat and death. Ron's female relatives are sympathetic and welcome him home with open arms. The few local people are ambivalent, neither sympathetic but not condemning either. It just is. Ron's father, however, is deeply disapproving and ashamed, but nonetheless, accepts his son's return home.
Skip to the end. A horde of locusts is descending upon the Midwestern region, threatening the summer crops. Ron's father seeks help from a fellow local farmer who owns a dusting airplane. But the farmer, upon learning of the death of his son in combat in the Pacific, committed suicide. That happened off-camera. It's up to Ron Howard to save the day. Despite his emotionally aversion to flying, he climbs into the dusting bi-plane and takes off, dusting all the farmers' crops and blunting the onslaught of the locusts. Only when locusts clog up the air filter and overheat the engine is Ron forced to land, but he has saved the day. In the ending scenes, Ron's father rushes up to joyfully embrace his son. The father has regained his pride and love for the Ron Howard character. This was a story of redemption. It was high quality drama for the thinking person and I found it emotionally appealing. Given today's all-too real drama of our veterans returning home with similar distresses, it might be a good idea for the television network to air this movie again.