Midnight Cowboy

Year: 1969
Production Co: Jerome Hellman Productions
Director: John Schlesigner
Writer: Waldo Salt
Cast: Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman

I think most of the zeitgeist surrounding this film's impact was simply because it was the first X-rated movie to win the Best Picture Oscar (and was instrumental in bringing about the NC-17 rating in the US as a result.

I found it quite simplistic, almost pedestrian. But it's possible that was the point, director Schlesinger careful not to show anything so confronting that the story was actually about.

Lovable dolt Joe (an impossibly youthful looking Voight) is a good looking country boy who decides to trade on his looks and his skill as a lover by becoming a professional gigolo in New York. But he quickly discovers that the streets are meaner than in his fantasies and he finds himself squatting in a condemned apartment building with small time grifter Ratso (Hoffman), a weasel-like con man who becomes Joe's only friend.

A dark past involving a girl he loved is alluded to in a few psychedelic flashback sequences, but mostly it's about Joe's the long downward slope into desperation. It's ironic that, at his lowest, he finds someone he can save as surely as will save him. You have to watch it if you're a movie fan, but it's not worth a second viewing.

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