Midnight Cowboy The Criterion Collection
Special Edition, Criterion Collection
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One of the British New Wave’s most versatile directors, John Schlesinger came to New York in the late-1960s to make Midnight Cowboy, a picaresque story of friendship that captured a city in crisis and sparked a new era of Hollywood movies. Jon Voight delivers a career-making performance as Joe Buck, a wide-eyed hustler from Texas hoping to score big with wealthy city women; he finds a companion in Enrico “Ratso” Rizzo, an ailing swindler with a bum leg and a quixotic fantasy of escaping to Florida, played by Dustin Hoffman in a radical departure from his breakthrough in The Graduate. A critical and commercial success despite controversy over what the MPAA termed its “homosexual frame of reference,” Midnight Cowboy became the first X-rated film to receive the best picture Oscar, and decades on, its influence still reverberates through cinema.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
- Audio commentary from 1991 featuring director John Schlesinger and producer Jerome Hellman
- New selected-scene commentary by cinematographer Adam Holender
- The Crowd Around the Cowboy, a 1969 short film made on location for Midnight Cowboy
- Waldo Salt: A Screenwriter’s Journey, an Academy Award–nominated documentary from 1990 by Eugene Corr and Robert Hillmann
- Two short 2004 documentaries on the making and release of Midnight Cowboy
- Interview with actor Jon Voight on The David Frost Show from 1970
- Interview from 2000 with Schlesinger for BAFTA Los Angeles
- Excerpts from the 2002 BAFTA LA Tribute to Schlesinger, featuring Voight and actor Dustin Hoffman
- PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Harris
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In short, magnificent, and kudos to everyone involved. The mono sound is also wonderfully done. It's like being back in a movie theater when it came out (which I was, saw it opening day, and many times during its original run).
The new Criterion transfer seems ideal. I was actually ok with the old WB DVD and a UK one I got later, which looks almost as good as the Criterion blu-ray. But the extras make this a must-have for fans of the film. Only the excellent docu on Waldo Salt is duplicated, and the new extras are tremendous.