Midnight Cowboy 1969
1969 was an interesting turning point in American cinema and no film better reflects that than Midnight Cowboy. Not only was it the first X-rated film to win the Best Picture Oscar but it presented a view of New York City that was the most bleak and depressing portrait since Ray Milland hit every seedy Manhattan bar in The Lost Weekend (1945). While more traditional Hollywood films like Hello, Dolly!, Anne of the Thousand Days and True Grit were well represented at the 1969 Academy Awards ceremony, it was obvious that the counterculture movement of the sixties had finally made an impact on mainstream cinema with major nominations that year going to Midnight Cowboy, Last Summer, Alice's Restaurant, Easy Rider and Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice - films that ushered in a new permissiveness in dealing with sex on-screen.

Midnight Cowboy was easily the most provocative of the lot. It's a tale of urban alienation and human need, expressed through two social outcasts. The main character, Joe Buck, is a hopelessly naive Texan who leaves his dishwashing job and catches a bus to New York City where he plans to hustle wealthy women for sex and money. Once he arrives in Manhattan, he is quickly fleeced by Ratso Rizzo, a slightly crippled two-bit con artist. Yet, despite their initial conflagration the two men develop a supportive relationship with Ratso playing pimp to Buck's male prostitute. The irony is that Buck's macho cowboy getup mainly attracts homosexuals and not the clientele he originally envisioned.

Director: John Schlesinger
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro
Country: USA
Genre: Drama

Midnight Cowboy (1969) Criterion Collection
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BD50 + 2xDVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 01:53:18 | 46.3 Gb + 14.3 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Audio Commentary - this audio commentary features director John Schlesinger and producer Jerome Hellman and was recorded in 1991. To be perfectly clear, this is not the same commentary that MGM commissioned and included on the Collector's Edition DVD release and the first Blu-ray release of Midnight Cowboy. Most older collectors will remember that back in the days the commentary was included on Criterion's LD release of the film.

Thirty-Firth Anniversary Documentaries - the two documentaries that are presented here were produced by MGM for the thirty-fifth anniversary DVD release of Midnight Cowboy from 2004. Both are also included on the first Blu-ray release of the film.

1. After Midnight: Reflecting On a Classic 35 Years Later - Dustin Hoffman, Sylvia Miles, producer Jerome Hellman, Jennifer Salt, and cinematographer Adam Holender, amongst others, discuss the film's production history, how James Leo Herlihy's famous novel was adapted, director John Schlesinger and his legacy, etc. In English, not subtitled. (30 min).

2. Controversy and Acclaim - a collection of video interviews focusing on the controversy that surrounded Midnight Cowboy before and after it was released. In English, not subtitled. (11 min).

Michael Childers - in this brand new program, Michael Childers, life partner of John Schlesinger and his assistant during the shooting of Midnight Cowboy, recalls his initial encounter with the director and discusses the production history of the film. Included in the program are vintage stills that Mr. Childers took during the shooting process. The program was created exclusively for Criterion. In English, not subtitled. (14 min).

Adam Holender - in this brand new video essay, cinematographer Adam Holender discusses in great detail the visual style of Midnight Cowboy and specifically how light was treated in various key sequences to get the right ambience. Also, there are excellent comments about specific location shots as well as unique lensing choices. Fantastic information. The essay was created exclusively for Criterion in February 2018. In English, not subtitled. (26 min).

The Crowd Around the Cowboy - this short vintage documentary film was shot and directed by Finnish cinematographer Jeri Sopanen (My Dinner with Andre) who was present during the production of Midnight Cowboy in 1969. It contains raw footage and behind-the-scenes material. The film is sourced from a print held by the National Film and Television Archive. In English, not subtitled. (9 min).

John Schlesinger -

1. Interview - in this archival interview, John Schlesinger discusses the manner in which homosexuality is represented in his work, with some interesting observations about Darling and Sunday Bloody Sunday, and the nature and personality of Jon Voight's iconic character in Midnight Cowboy. The interview was conducted by Merle Goldberg for BAFTA Los Angeles in 2000. In English, not subtitled. (16 min).

2. BAFTA Tribute - a collection of excerpts from BAFTA's tribute to John Schlesinger on May 19, 2002, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, featuring producer and studio executive David Picker and actors Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. Mr. Voight's recollections about the era and social climate in which Midnight Cowboy emerged are particularly interesting. In English, not subtitled. (34 min).

Jon Voight -

1. The David Frost Show - in this archival interview, Jon Voight explains how he entered the film business after he initially tried to have a career as a stand-up comedian, and discusses his early 'accent roles' and his involvement with Midnight Cowboy. The interview was conducted in 1970. In English, not subtitled. (15 min).

2. Screen Tests - presented here is a collection of hilarious vintage screen tests for Midnight Cowboy in which Jon Voight does a series of improvisations. The tests were conducted by screenwriter Waldo Salt. In English, not subtitled. (7 min).

Waldo Salt: A Screenwriter's Journey - this archival documentary film, which was nominated for Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, focuses on the life and legacy of screenwriter Waldo Salt. It was produced by Eugene Corr and Robert Hillmann in 1990. In English, not subtitled. (58 min).

Trailer - original restored trailer for Midnight Cowboy. In English, not subtitled. (2 min).

Midnight Cowboy (1969) 20th Century Fox
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BD50 | 1080p AVC | 01:53:21 | 39.6 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Catalan
Subtitles: English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Catalan, Swedish

Extras:

Commentary - an audio commentary with producer Jerome Hellman. This is the same audio commentary that was included on the Collector's Edition DVD release of Midnight Cowboy.

After Midnight: Reflecting On The Classic 35 Years Later - Dustin Hoffman, Sylvia Miles, producer Jerome Hellman, Jennifer Salt, and cinematographer Adam Holender, amongst others, discuss the film's production history, how James Leo Herlihy's famous novel was adapted, director John Schlesinger and his legacy, etc. In English, with optional English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Dutch subtitles. (30 min).

Controversy and Acclaim - a collection of video interviews focusing on the controversy that surrounded Midnight Cowboy before and after it was released. In English, with optional English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Dutch subtitles. (11 min).

Celebrating Schlesinger - a look at director John Schlesinger's life and legacy. In English, with optional English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Dutch subtitles.(10 min).

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