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Drama - No Category

Midnight Cowboy (1969)


Duration 1h 53m Rating (UK) X
Source of story A novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy
Director John Schlesinger
Writers/Script Waldo Salt
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Ultra Violet, M. Emmet Walsh

Elevator Pitch: Joe a young Texan who believes himself to be a superstud, arrives in New York with the intent of becoming a gigolo, but he is scammed by everyone he meets. Ratzo Rizzo, a down-and-out who had defrauded Joe of $20 takes pity on him and offers him space in the squat where he lives. They are frezzing to death so Joe opts to try his luck as a gay prostitute, but is equally unsuccessful, until offered a ticket to a socialite party where their luck might change, although Rizzo’s health is continuing to decline.

Content: There is male and female sex and a bit of nudity, some of it as flashbacks to Joe’s past and a sexual event with a young woman, (I though she was under age, others thought mentally limited). Joe is out of his depth in New York until  offered help by Rizzo, and a bed in a grimy squat on the edge of survival and civilisation. Things change when they get to a sort of Warhol type party, but it seems that Rizzo won’t survive unless they get to warmer weather, leading Joe to  violence to get the money for the bus tickets.

A View: This is a memorable film, which I first saw when it came out in 1969. It has an extraordinary soundtrack, and I remember buying the LP as well. It won the Best Film and the director was Best Director at the 1970 Oscars. At the beginning of the film both Joe and Ratzo are annoying people but in true narrative fashion we come to care about them, as they become friends and  change as people. But it is too late. So today a classic, well worth the cost of a download, but be prepared to be distressed.

Additional Info:  Despite the classification it made a lot of money at the time. John Voight won “Best Newcomer” at a number of awards.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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