Tuesday, March 30 at 7PM (pt)
SHOOTING MIDNIGHT COWBOY
by Glenn Frankel
in conversation with Leonard Maltin
The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and New York Times–bestselling author of the behind-the-scenes explorations of the classic American Westerns High Noon and The Searchers now reveals the history of the controversial 1969 Oscar-winning film that signaled a dramatic shift in American popular culture.
Glenn Frankel's Shooting Midnight Cowboy tells the story of a modern classic that, by all accounts, should never have become one in the first place. The film's boundary-pushing subject matter--homosexuality, prostitution, sexual assault--earned it an X rating when it first appeared in cinemas in 1969. For Midnight Cowboy, Schlesinger--who had never made a film in the United States--enlisted Jerome Hellman, a producer coming off his own recent flop and smarting from a failed marriage, and Waldo Salt, a formerly blacklisted screenwriter with a tortured past. The decision to shoot on location in New York, at a time when the city was approaching its gritty nadir, backfired when a sanitation strike filled Manhattan with garbage fires and fears of dysentery.
Much more than a history of Schlesinger's film, Shooting Midnight Cowboy is an arresting glimpse into the world from which it emerged: a troubled city that nurtured the talents and ambitions of the pioneering Polish cinematographer Adam Holender and legendary casting director Marion Dougherty, who discovered both Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight and supported them for the roles of "Ratso" Rizzo and Joe Buck--leading to one of the most intensely moving joint performances ever to appear on screen. We follow Herlihy himself as he moves from the experimental confines of Black Mountain College to the theatres of Broadway, influenced by close relationships with Tennessee Williams and Anaïs Nin, and yet unable to find lasting literary success.
By turns madcap and serious, and enriched by interviews with Hoffman, Voight, and
others, Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic is not only the definitive account of the film that unleashed a new wave of innovation in American cinema, but also the story of a country--and an industry-beginning to break free from decades of cultural and sexual repression.
Glenn Frankel worked for many years at The Washington Post, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1989. He has taught journalism at Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he directed the School of Journalism. He has won the National Jewish Book Award, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and is a Motion Picture Academy Film Scholar. He is the New York Times–bestselling author of The Searchers and High Noon, and lives in Arlington, Virginia. Visit his website at www.glennfrankel.com.
Leonard Maltin is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, appears regularly on Turner Classic Movies, and hosts the weekly podcast Maltin on Movies with his daughter Jessie. His books include Hooked on Hollywood, The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, The Great Movie Comedians, and many others. He holds court at leonardmaltin.com, and you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.