Brokeback Mountain (2005): Midnight Cowboy for Our Age??

December 28, 2005–In several significant ways, “Brokeback Mountain” is the “Midnight Cowboy” of this year, albeit Ang Lee’s modern Western is superior to John Schlesinger’s 1969 urban Western on every level, narrative, theme, mise-en-scene, visual style, and overall acting.

In 1969, “Midnight Cowboy” won the Best Picture Oscar, Best Director for John Schlesinger, and Adapted Screenplay for Waldo Salt.

It was a year of mixed bags as far as the Oscar race was concerned. Released in the midst of the Vietnam War (and the anti-War movement), “Midnight Cowboy” defeated the flawed historical epic “Anne of the Thousand Days,” the stagy adaptation of “A Thousand Clowns,” the exuberantly fake revisionist Western, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” starring Newman and Redford, the old-fashioned musical, “Hello Dolly! With Streisand in the lead, and the Costa-Gavras’ superb political thriller “Z.”

History repeats itself and this year, 36 years later, the Oscar race may look like this. Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” will occupy the “Midnight Cowboy” spot, Spielberg’s international thriller “Munich” will substitute for “Z” (on which it’s partially modeled), the musical “Walk the Line,” touted as this year’s “Ray,” will serve as “Hello Dolly! for our times. The fifth spot could conceivably be taken by Stephen Frears’ theatrical tableau, “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” as the equivalent of the Broadway to Hollywood transfer of “A Thousand Clowns.”

Setting and Source Material

“Midnight Cowboy” and “Brokeback Mountain” are set at the same time: 1960s. “Brokeback” begins in 1963 and spans twenty years, whereas “Midnight” is set in the late 1960s. Both films are based on respectable source material: “Midnight” on the 1966 novel of James Leo Herlihy (who, by the way, committed suicide), and “Brokeback” on Annie Proulx’s New Yorker story, masterfully adapted to the screen by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana.


“Midnight Cowboy” is a cynical, occasionally touching tale of a strange friendship between two victims of the American Dream: Joe Buck (Jon Voight), a good-looking, uneducated and naive Texan, who fancies himself to be a stud, and Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), a sickly, crippled poor drifter.

Joe Buck is a good-looking, none-too-bright Texas lad who comes to New York with the ambition of striking it rich by providing sexual services to wealthy women, only to discover that the image projected by his buckskin jacket and cowboy paraphernalia has appeal mainly in the homosexual market. Full of contradictions, Joe is dumb but sensitive, vulnerable but violent. He may be America’s last unenlightened fool, a small-town bumpkin, unable to adapt to a faster, more sophisticated world.

Ratzo Rizzo (Hoffman) is a crippled, ailing mousy scrounger living in a vacant, decaying building, barely eking out an existence by his street smarts.


The tone is more morbidly exploitative than honestly realisticor humanistic, for that matter. “Midnight Cowboy” goes out of its way to portray the sordid ambiance of nightlife at Times Square and its alienated, lonely creatures. Schlesinger explores the Dante-like Inferno New York City’s 42nd Street area, emphasizing the characters’ squalid adjustments to loneliness and desperation. In this, the movie perpetuated the myth of New York as a big, sleazy, dehumanized, impersonal city.


Stylistically, however, the two movies could not have been more different. Reflecting the influence of the French New Wave and Richard Lester (the Beatles movies, “Petulia”), “Midnight Cowboy” employs jazzy camera tricks and editing pyrotechnics. Relying on rapid-fire intercutting, Schlesinger uses the spurious exuberance of mass media slogans as a counterpoint to the joyless real-life encounters of his protagonists. However, the fragmented flashbacks into the cowboy’s lurid formative years are irritatingly ambiguous and incoherent.

Graphic Sex

“Midnight Cowboy” surprised audiences with its candid view of sex and daring dialogue, though by today’s standards, the film is conservative and mild. The relationship between Joe and Ratso doesn’t go far enough; it is never overtly sexual, despite innuendos. And all the sex scenes are depicted in grotesque and exaggerated manner. The first one, with an aging blonde, is meant to be comic; in bed, the couple fall on and off a remote TV control.

Sylvia Miles plays Cass, a restless ex-hooker who welcomes the excitement of Joe’s visit to the plush penthouse provided by her current protector, an aging floozy Joe picks up under the mistaken interpretation that she is a society lady.

Two of the film’s strongest scenes are sexual. In the former, Joe allows a young man to perform fellatio on him in a movie theater, while he’s watching a sci-fi flick. When he climaxes, Schlesinger cuts to the screen and we see the spaceship takes off! In a later scene, Joe beats and nearly kills an old faggot.

Subtler and far more audacious, “Brokeback Mountain” contains fewer sexual scenes, though the first one between Ennis and Jake involves anal intercourse.

Message Movie

A message movie, “Midnight Cowboy” is about a relationship between a flawed “innocent,” a victim of the American Dream, and a cynical, illusionless, moribund loser. The movie concerns the awakening of affection in two alienated young men, who discover for the first time in their lives what it is to care for and about another human being. Neither Joe nor Ratso, the Times Square derelict who first cheats and then befriends him, has ever really “communicated” with anyone before. The resulting camaraderie fufills the need for human companionship.

Despite major flaws, the movie is sporadically moving. And it certainly has the kind of energy that transcends its depressing context. Moral ambiguity prevails throughout, specifically in the gratuitously brutal act Joe commits in an effort to realize the dying cripple’s fantasy about getting to Florida, a paradise of sunshine and cocoanuts.


A product of the late 1960s, “Midnight Cowboy” contains a Greenwich Village hippie party-orgy, an almost obligatory gesture toward the then fashionable onscreen decadence, begun by Fellini in “La Dolce Vita” and “81/2.” Now a days, the party scene looks meaningless and even unnecessary.


Times have obviously changed. “Midnight Cowboy” was the first film of prestige to get an X-rated in the new rating system, which was initiated just seven months before its release. The X-rating doesn’t exist anymore’the more problematic NC-17 has replaced it. As expected, “Brokeback Mountain” is R-rated.

Audience Appeal

Dealing with moral disintegration and moral dislocation, “Midnight Cowboy” catered to and reinforced the facile pessimism and cynicism of the then young moviegoers. A generation later, “Midnight Cowboy” served as a reminder that movies can be tough and gritty and still have wide commercial appeal. Similarly, if early evidence is to be trusted, the moderately budgeted “Brokeback” may prove to be a huge hit, even in the hinterland.

Quality Acting

The acting of Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman was superb, earning both nominations in the lead category. The winner, however, was another cowboy, an older and more traditional one, John Wayne, in “True Grit.”

And the Oscar Goes to

Awards-wise, George Roy Hill’s “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” got more Oscars (four) than “Midnight Cowboy.” However, with the exception of William Goldman’s Original Screenplay, the awards were in the technical categories, such as Conrad Hall’s Cinematography, Burt Bacharach’s Score, and Song, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” with music by Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David.

“Midnight Cowboy” was nominated for 7 Oscars: Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, two Best Actors (Voight and Hoffman, thus canceling each other out), Supporting Actress (Sylvia Miles), and Editing (Hugh A. Robertson).

If my interpretation of this similarity is valid, “Brokeback Mountain” should garner at least 7 nominations (and possibly more) comes January 31, when the nominations are announced. It seems safe to predict that Lee’s modern Western will be nominated for 7 to 11 Oscars: Picture, Director (Ang Lee), Adapted Screenplay (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana), Actor (Heath Ledger), Supporting Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal), Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams), Cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto), Production Design, Editing, Music (Gustavo Santaolalla), and Best Song, Emmylou Harris’ “A Love That Will Never Grow Old.”

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbethttps://bsport.fithttps://onbet88.ooohttps://i9bet.bizhttps://hi88.ooohttps://okvip.athttps://f8bet.athttps://fb88.cashhttps://vn88.cashhttps://shbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter