“This tremendous volume offers the most detailed explication of how a movie is made that I have ever read . . . When Frankel praises [director John Schlesinger] for his ‘natural curiosity, humor’ and ‘keen eye for quirky stories and intriguing characters, ‘ he could be talking about himself . . . What takes this book from good to great is his graceful writing and the intelligence [Frankel] brings to everything he examines . . . Much more than a page-turner. It’s the first essential work of cultural history of the new decade.”


Just finished Shooting Midnight Cowboy by Glenn Frankel. Non-Fiction.
This is the story behind the Oscar winning film Midnight Cowboy starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. The book offers small biographies of all of the principal players. James Herlihy, the author of the book and John Schlesinger the director and the moving force behind the film are examined in detail. They were both homosexual and the one thing they definitely wanted to avoid was the public perceiving the story as a male love story between Ratso Rizzo, the Hoffman character and Joe Buck, the Voight character. After all, this is the late 60’s and that kind of film would not be accepted by the public or the studio banking the film.

Hoffman is a hot property as The Graduate made him a star but Voight is relatively unknown at that time. It is interesting to see how they were finally hired for the film.
The director also made a deteriorating New York City another character in the film, and the many stories behind how some small scenes in the film were based on actual events witnessed on the streets by the author or the director add to the realistic point of view of the film.

Midnight Cowboy is also the only film rated X to win a Best Picture Oscar and the story behind the rating is surprising.
After reading the book I watched the film again and it certainly comes off in a different light to me now.
Any film buff should enjoy this book.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 27th September 2021

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Richard Franco