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Tafero's DVD Reviews of the Day (0017) - Midnight Cowboy - 1969

This is a dvd movie review of Midnight Cowboy - 1969. This film won the academy award for best film of 1969.

0017 – Midnight Cowboy – 1969 – Directed by John Schlesinger and starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight as two street hustlers in New York who have a hard time making their way through life. This was the first X-rated movie to ever win the best picture Academy Award. The rating for the film was toned down to an R after its critical success. It also marked the first major film for Jon Voight, who went on to do several more fine films and cemented Dustin Hoffman as a legendary film icon. Somehow, neither actor was able to garner the award for best actor that year. The theory was that they split such a large vote for best actor that they allowed the third best performance of that year, John Wayne’s True Grit, to win. Also, there was a great deal of sentimentality attached to the Wayne nomination, as he had never won before and Hoffman was assumed to be nominated many more years to come for future roles. The chemistry between Hoffman and Voight is undeniable and they played very well off each other. There were a lot of ways this film could have gone wrong, but they were all avoided by the able director, Schlesinger. A eclectic supporting cast added a great deal of authenticity to the film and it really captured the flavor of the streets of New York at the end of the 1960s.

The story begins with Joe Buck getting caught with someone else’s woman in Texas and he literally gets swept out of the state with the butt end of the broom. As Joe arrives in New York, the sense of lonliness is as cold as the weather he encounters. He makes an acquaintance of Ratzo Rizzo, who naturally tries to hustle him first since he a New York street person. Eventually, the two of them team up for a series of unprofitable adventures on the streets of New York. One sees the education of the Voight character, Joe Buck, by way of Hoffman’s Ratzo Rizzo gradually take place through a series of events; some successful and others terrible failures for the duo. There is an undercurrent of homophobia that runs through the film, but it certainly depicts the actual attitudes of the time of real people toward the homosexual community. As events turn more desperate, there is only hope for one of them as they head for Florida. The film is also aided by a wonderful soundtrack.

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