Monday, June 2, 2014

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Director: John Schlesinger
Writers:  Waldo Salt, James Leo Herlihy (Novel)
Cast:       Dustin Hoffman, John Voight, Sylvia Miles

Joe Buck (Jon Voight) is a Texan cowboy/stud who moves to New-York to work as a gigolo. He is way out of his element in the new city and struggles to find work. He befriends a cripple and street con artist, Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), and the film depicts there struggle for survival in NYC. In one sense it is an odd couple film.

Throughout the film several flashback/dream sequences of Joe's earlier life are shown in a tacky way. It offers us clues to why he has ended up this way. These sequences are also a bit unreliable since it is shown from Joe's subconscious and there is a sense that he is twisting some of the events to cope with them. He was raised by his grandmother and he is aspiring to be a gigolo for rich lonely socialites in NYC. There must be some Freudian stuff going on there. His girlfriend from Texas is also a recurring theme in these sequences. At some points she is shown as loyal to him but ending up getting gang-raped. In some other sequences it is shown that she cheated on him and later on she is shown accusing him of raping her. All these events must have deeply affected the personality of Joe.

Rizzo is much more smarter than Joe but he is a cripple. His story is much more straight forward and performances by both Hoffman and Voight are really excellent. Voight got the minimum wage that an actor could get for this role since he was desperate to land this role. The final scene of the film is done very poignantly and the reactions remain true to their characters. This was the first and only X-Rated film to win the academy awards for best motion picture. Now it is rated 'R'. 

Rating: 4.5/5