Friday, November 8, 2013

Cowboys only come out at Midnight

So. This is an interesting movie! From all the way back to 1969 we've got Midnight Cowboy. The story of a small town man from Texas (played with great aplomb by Jon Voight) that moves to New York City because he (literally) wants to become a male escort. While there, he befriends a slimy little grifter played by Dustin Hoffman.

Now, first of all, Hoffman and Voight knocked it out of the park here. Voight was basically the very definition of "Oh, bless his heart" with his bumbling naivety and ineffectual attempts to navigate life in a city that swallows up even the most hardened people. Hoffman is incredible as a street smart, but otherwise pretty dim, sickly, limping, con artist.

The story is perhaps typical, and certainly by this point played out, but it's still a heartbreaking joy to see it played out on the screen. New York City is shown as both dingy and glitzy. Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talkin" is played repeatedly to great effect. Directed well by a man with a long career, but nothing that would nearly rise to these great heights. Part of that can perhaps by attributed to the source material. A book of the same name written in 1965 by James Leo Herlihy.

For a movie that was rated X (!!!) at the time, it is surprisingly light on anything inappropriate. At least to modern eyes. The X rating was in fact awarded due to the "homosexual frame of reference". Two years after it was originally released it was granted an "R" rating without any changes being made.  It was an interesting movie made more so but the lack of tying everything up in a neat little bow or attempting to give everyone a happy ending. Life is bleak, at times, and it's nice to sometimes have movies that (mostly) reflect that.


design by