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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 4/15/99

Midnight Cowboy
1969 (1997) - MGM/UA

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

Midnight Cowboy Film Rating: A-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A/C

Specs and Features

113 mins, R (re-rated, originally X), letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), full frame (1.33:1), dual-sided, single-layered, Snapper packaging, theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens, scene access (31 chapters), languages: English and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, French & Spanish, Close Captioned

Who remembers this: during the 1995 Academy Awards, Jim Carrey picking up the Toy Story dolls (left on the podium by Toy Story director John Lasseter for a animated sketch), and making them dance while he hums the opening theme to Midnight Cowboy? I was the only person at the Oscar party laughing so hard I cried. I looked stupid for it - but I still think it's hilarious.

Anyway, Midnight Cowboy is the only film to ever win an Academy Award with an X rating. The film is pretty tame today with hints of oral sex, a male-on-male gang rape, and a few nipple shots. Still, the film stands as a touching story of a boy who wants to go to the big city, does so, and suffers while making friends with a small time criminal with a gimp leg. That criminal is Ratso Rizzo -- he'd rather you not call him that. He's played by Dustin Hoffman, and just to see him in the fantasy sequence on the beaches of Florida is worth the price of this disc. The boy is Jon Voight, a Texas kid named Joe Buck ("Where's Joe Buck?") looking to become a high priced gigolo in New York City. Don't we all? Of course, things don't work out for Joe and he looses everything including his cowhide suitcase, his cowboy outfit and his pride. Rizzo looses a bit more, but achieves pop culture immortality (see: anyone whoever said, "I'm walking here!", or the Seinfeld episode where George buys Voight's used car).

The transfer on this DVD is clean, with only a hint of grain evident. I'd say it's the closest thing to perfect you could get with this film. A really neat highlight is the non-animated film themed menu screens. The design is super - you just have to see it to appreciate what I'm talking about. There is a trailer (from the remastered theatrical rerelease version) also included. I would have liked more extras, for example a commentary track (although Hoffman usually isn't very good on them). Oh, well. The film looks great. The sound is a solid DD 2.0, and sounds wonderful. All in all, a great job for a true cinema classic.

Todd Doogan

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