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MIDNIGHT COWBOY

SYNOPSIS:
Joe Buck (John Voight), is a tall and handsome young Texan who hits New York to hustle money out of rich women. He is befriended by a sickly, limping, lowlife con-man, 'Ratso' Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), who offers to manage Joes career, for their joint benefit. A unique bond develops between the unlikely duo, but the two prove no match for the urban jungle of Manhattan.

"Everybody calls him Ratso, when it's really Rico, but even when Joe becomes strangely attached to him, he can't help but call the man Ratso; it's kinda fitting, like a 'Poison' label on unstable chemicals. As for Joe, well, his surname is Buck, appropriately, if predictably, enough. But nothing else is predictable about Midnight Cowboy, even now, 30 years after it's explosive, Oscar winning debut as the haunting odd couple buddy movie film noir of the decade. Waldo Salt's salty script is superbly realised by Schlesinger and both Hoffman and Voight deliver career high performances as lost animals of prey in an urban zoo. Hoffman's Ratso is as alluring as a rat with a grin and a joke; Voight is as nave as he is venally selfish, his country bumpkin innocence his only claim to charm. Oozing pathos as the physically decrepid Ratso and the emotionally immature Joe form a bond of friendship beyond mutual dependence (Ratso has a weak body, Joe a weak brain), the film becomes a mix of pain and joy as this oddest of couples skirmish their way through the upper and lower sides of New York, from trippy parties to tantrumy matrons. Joe is a chrome plated anti-hero, but Ratso is the ungarnished version, and their journey involves us from the beginning, as it begins to spiral down, slowly but inexorably, against a backdrop of a city even more pockmarked with moral scabs than they are. The miracle is that by the time Joe puts Ratso's well being first, we have had to reconsider these two lives afresh, and with a great deal more compassion. This is what makes the film so gripping and such a classic: it encourages our humanity with its challenging subject. Generally regarded as one of the best dramas of all time, Midnight Cowboy is brilliant filmmaking."
Andrew L. Urban

LIMITED EDITION
Only 2,000 copies of each of the 100 films in the Century Collection are being released in Australia during October, November and December 1999 by Warner Home Video, exclusively through Myer/Grace Bros stores, K Mart and Target.

RRP: $19.95 each

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

CLIPS

MIDNIGHT COWBOY (M 15+)
US (1969)

CAST: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Brenda Vaccaro, John McGiver, Ruth White, Sylvia Miles, Barnard Hughes

DIRECTOR: John Schlesinger

PRODUCER: Jerome Hellman

SCRIPT: Waldo Salt (based on James L. Herlihy's novel)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Adam Holender

EDITOR: Hugh A. Robertson

MUSIC: John Barry (Everybody's Talkin' At Me, sung by Nilsson)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Robert Lloyd

RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

VIDEO RELEASE DATE: October 1999







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