Hot Best Seller

Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic

Availability: Ready to download

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. Director John Schlesinger's Darling was nominated for five Academy Award 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. Director John Schlesinger's Darling was nominated for five Academy Awards, and introduced the world to the transcendently talented Julie Christie. Suddenly the toast of Hollywood, Schlesinger used his newfound clout to film an expensive, Panavision adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd. Expectations were huge, making the movie's complete critical and commercial failure even more devastating, and Schlesinger suddenly found himself persona non grata in the Hollywood circles he had hoped to conquer. Given his recent travails, Schlesinger's next project seemed doubly daring, bordering on foolish. James Leo Herlihy's novel Midnight Cowboy, about a Texas hustler trying to survive on the mean streets of 1960's New York, was dark and transgressive. Perhaps something about the book's unsparing portrait of cultural alienation resonated with him. His decision to film it began one of the unlikelier convergences in cinematic history, centered around a city that seemed, at first glance, as unwelcoming as Herlihy's novel itself. 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 Ana�s 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.


Compare

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. Director John Schlesinger's Darling was nominated for five Academy Award 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. Director John Schlesinger's Darling was nominated for five Academy Awards, and introduced the world to the transcendently talented Julie Christie. Suddenly the toast of Hollywood, Schlesinger used his newfound clout to film an expensive, Panavision adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd. Expectations were huge, making the movie's complete critical and commercial failure even more devastating, and Schlesinger suddenly found himself persona non grata in the Hollywood circles he had hoped to conquer. Given his recent travails, Schlesinger's next project seemed doubly daring, bordering on foolish. James Leo Herlihy's novel Midnight Cowboy, about a Texas hustler trying to survive on the mean streets of 1960's New York, was dark and transgressive. Perhaps something about the book's unsparing portrait of cultural alienation resonated with him. His decision to film it began one of the unlikelier convergences in cinematic history, centered around a city that seemed, at first glance, as unwelcoming as Herlihy's novel itself. 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 Ana�s 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.

30 review for Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    There's a lot to unpack here. As I write this, I hear John Barry's haunting theme, and realize it is one of those pieces of music that has never worn out its welcome for over 50 years. That and Harry Nilsson's cover of Everybody's Talkin' which I had always attributed to him, but was actually composed by Fred Neil, a lesser known musician of the time who wrote while wishing to return to the solitude of his sailboat in Florida. How these two pieces became so closely identified with a gritty depic There's a lot to unpack here. As I write this, I hear John Barry's haunting theme, and realize it is one of those pieces of music that has never worn out its welcome for over 50 years. That and Harry Nilsson's cover of Everybody's Talkin' which I had always attributed to him, but was actually composed by Fred Neil, a lesser known musician of the time who wrote while wishing to return to the solitude of his sailboat in Florida. How these two pieces became so closely identified with a gritty depiction of life on the streets of a downward sliding New York City in the 1960's is only one of the elements of this remarkable study. For those of us who remember that time and the impact this mature film made on the movie industry, this book is a trip to our past. For those too young or who weren't paying attention, it is a virtual window on an era long gone. I would imagine only real cinema nerds will make it all the way through, but this densely packed, extraordinarily researched examination reaches beyond the confines of film production and instead presents historical forces that had to be in place for this movie to be made but even more so, for its impact on the pop and cultural landscapes of its time. Integral to this history are the historical events regarding student upheavals, terrorist groups, protests against the Vietnam War, and most importantly, the history of gay culture featuring the Stonewall riots and the emergence of HIV. There are in depth bios of the primary creators which reveal personal detail - Author John Leo Herlihy (including his intense friendship with Anais Nin), Director John Schlesinger (looking for a quality project after scoring with Darling and flopping with Far From the Madding Crowd). The section on Waldo Salt brought in the shameful era of McCarthyism and the Black List. The fortunate timing of the schedule that evolved under John Lindsay's term as mayor during which only one permit was required for shooting a film as opposed to an earlier, more difficult and expensive system. Then of course there was the casting. It is impossible to envision this film with anyone else, but the contribution particularly of Dustin Hoffman and his willingness to work with aspirants to the Joe Buck role were invaluable. It's a lengthy, detailed portrait of an indelible contributor to the zeitgeist.

  2. 4 out of 5

    J Earl

    Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic by Glenn Frankel is about so much more than simply shooting the film. It is a history of the book and film, as well as those people involved and the times in which it was made. These are all tied together into a compelling narrative that keeps the reader engrossed from start to finish. In some ways this is more a history book than a snapshot of the time during which the film was physically made. By tellin Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic by Glenn Frankel is about so much more than simply shooting the film. It is a history of the book and film, as well as those people involved and the times in which it was made. These are all tied together into a compelling narrative that keeps the reader engrossed from start to finish. In some ways this is more a history book than a snapshot of the time during which the film was physically made. By telling the personal stories of the book's author (Herlihy) and director (Schlesinger) we are given background into the themes of the film and the cultural environment into which it was released. In this respect it is as much social and cultural history as it is a study of the making of a film. If you're mostly interested in the making of the film in the more narrow sense, you won't be disappointed. We get the details of what is done, what is considered, and what each person in the production brought to the final cut. I do think, even if you aren't coming to the book with a strong desire to learn as much of the history of the principals and the culture of the period, you will be glad you read it. That information sheds so much light on what will later be decided in the making of the film. In spite of the big ideas, as highlighted in the book's after colon section, the film and this book both never lose track of the human elements. These are people. Whether we're talking about the characters in the story or the one's responsible for writing the book and making the movie, this is still a story (film and this book) about people. I recommend this not just to film lovers and those who like this film in particular, but to those interested in social history of mid-20th century, especially New York City, Stonewall, and many of the other movements of the time. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I have read all of Frankel’s books on film and have enjoyed each of them-including Shooting Midnight Cowboy. This is a very behind the scenes look at the making of Midnight Cowboy and the book on which it is based. The book gives us a look at the author,James Herlihy, the director of the movie, James Schlesinger and of course, the stars-Hoffman and Voight. Not just a book about a movie but the book also examines New York in the seventies with an emphasis on gay culture and the arts. A very inter I have read all of Frankel’s books on film and have enjoyed each of them-including Shooting Midnight Cowboy. This is a very behind the scenes look at the making of Midnight Cowboy and the book on which it is based. The book gives us a look at the author,James Herlihy, the director of the movie, James Schlesinger and of course, the stars-Hoffman and Voight. Not just a book about a movie but the book also examines New York in the seventies with an emphasis on gay culture and the arts. A very interesting melange. My only complaint is that I think the book is too detailed and could have been shorter. The details sometimes bog down the interesting story of the key players and the movie making story. But I still enjoyed it and if you have any interest in film making and/or this classic movie—this book is for you.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Terry Goodman

  5. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Peipert

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stefan Fergus

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  8. 5 out of 5

    James Beggarly

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sean Stevens

  10. 4 out of 5

    Doug

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen Armo

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kara

  13. 4 out of 5

    Antonio Paul

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy R

  15. 4 out of 5

    666

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jada

  18. 4 out of 5

    ColumbusReads

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cody

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sunnymay

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Silvanna

  23. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Gerhart

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kole

  25. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kye Cantey

  27. 5 out of 5

    Glen Helfand

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Maki

  29. 5 out of 5

    G.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.