Midnight Cowboy (1969)
1969 was a momentous year: Woodstock, the Moon Walk, Charles Manson, Chappaquidick, Nixon back again, an escalating Vietnam. And Midnight Cowboy took out the Oscar for Best Pic. A well deserved win but John Wayne getting the nod as Best Actor for True Grit rather than Dustin Hoffman for Midnight Cowboy?? MC remains a classic, deservedly so. It also continues the recent series of posts with the word Midnight in the title: Midnight Run, Midnight Sting. Tomorrow: Midnight Express.
Texan dishwasher Joe Buck gets himself some cowboy clobber and heads for New York, intent on making money as a stud for wealthy women. He ends up broke and desperate, even being conned out of $20 by third rate, crippled con artist “Ratso” Rizzo, who takes him in. Together they try to survive the winter, living rough in a condemned building.
Joe Buck: I bet you ain't never even been laid! How about that? And you're gonna tell me what appeals to women!
Ratso Rizzo: I know enough to know that that great big, dumb cowboy crap of yours don't appeal to nobody except every jockey on 42nd Street. That's faggot stuff! You wanna call it by its name? That's strictly for fags!
Joe Buck: John Wayne! You wanna tell me he's a fag?
The haunting theme music:
Before Dustin Hoffman auditioned for this film, he knew that his all-American image could easily cost him the job. To prove he could do it, he asked the auditioning film executive to meet him on a street corner in Manhattan, and in the meantime, dressed himself in filthy rags. The executive arrived at the appointed corner and waited, barely noticing the "beggar" less than ten feet away who was accosting people for spare change. At last, the beggar walked up to him and revealed his true identity.