Director: John Schlesinger (USA – 1969)
Nominated for seven Oscars, John Schlesinger’s classic, operatic love-story of alienation, commitment and redemption is as raw and uncompromising today. Fuelled by riveting character studies from Jon Voight, as the naively charming, Texan ‘cowboy,’ Joe Buck, who dreams of making his fortune by hustling wealthy Park Avenue women, and Dustin Hoffman, as the limping, tubercular con-man, ‘Ratso’ Rizzo, the film centres on their achingly emotive relationship once Joe moves into ‘Ratso’s’ derelict, East Village tenement. On discovering that his cowboy paraphernalia appeals mostly to the homosexual market, Joe ekes out a meagre existence in the Dante-esque, triple X inferno of 42nd Street in a desperate attempt to realize ‘Ratso’s’dying fantasy of escaping to Florida.
Embodying the absurdities and excesses of 60’s New York, the film’s gallery of odd-balls and psychopaths include scene stealing cameos from Sylvia Miles’s washed-up hooker and John McGiver’s crazed evangelist. Waldo Salt’s meditative script is a rare treat as is Adam Holender’s underexposed, New Wave influenced photography.
Extras include – Documentary: ‘After Midnight- Reflections on the Classic’, and audio commentary by producer Jerome Hellman.
Time Out (London) – Issue 1927 – 25th July 200