Thursday, January 9, 2014

Midnight Cowboy * * 1/2.


Joe Buck (Jon Voight), a young man from Texas, moves to New York City, where he hopes wealthy women will pay him for his sexual favors. Instead, unable to find any such clients, he is repeatedly cheated and manipulated by various individuals he encounters. After his money has run out, and he has been evicted from the room in which he had been living, Buck is invited by a sickly street hustler named Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), who was among the persons who had earlier swindled him, to live in his own squalid flat in a condemned building. Despite their differences, the two men soon become emotionally attached to one another and together attempt to survive from day to day.

On the surface, Midnight Cowboy seems like one of the most depraved and depressing movies you will ever see.  The pace is slow and the movie is repetitive.  However, it was the best picture winner in 1969.  The movie has a social conscious as it explores the seedy underbelly of New York.  The performances by Hoffman and Voight are extremely good and almost redeem the movie.  The relationship between Buck and Rizzo hints at hidden homosexual feelings.

The film did not deserve its original "X" rating, which is probably mostly due to the multiple homosexual references, not to mention some very adult themes, so the movie was later re-rated at an "R.".  There are a great many nude scenes in the film, but most of them are very brief.  This is the first and probably the last "X" rated movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

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