Midnight Cowboy 

John Schlesinger's pungent 1969 tragicomedy about two hustlers going down slowly on New York's fleabag Deuce is no longer the X-rated shocker it was almost 40 years ago. (Truth be told, it really wasn't then either.) But it still packs a punch, thanks to an indelible pair of lead performances: Jon Voight in his star-making role as the naive prostitute Joe Buck, who loses his fresh face among the fleshpots of 42nd Street, and scuzzy-forever Dustin Hoffman as the consumptive Ratso Rizzo. The movie's hand-me-down Mod cinema affectations and its indictment of Warhol Factory types are dated, but its portrayal of being penniless in a consumer culture still has a pang of real hunger--the reason it's the centerpiece of the Belcourt's "From Tramp to Vagabond" series exploring homelessness in film. Other highlights of the first-rate series this week include Preston Sturges' evergreen comedy Sullivan's Travels (through Sept. 18), Vittorio De Sica's 1951 comic fantasy Miracle in Milan (through Sept. 18), Hal Ashby's gorgeous Haskell Wexler-shot Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory (Sept. 21-23), Agnes Varda's hauntingly unresolved Vagabond (Sept. 22-24) and a rare screening of the Nashville-shot 1966 country musical That Tennessee Beat (Sept. 19-20) featuring Ormond Family leading man Earl "Snake" Richards, Merle Travis, Pete Drake, the Statler Brothers and Minnie Pearl as a wheelchair-bound preacher. Visit belcourt.org for show times.
Fri., Sept. 19; Sat., Sept. 20; Sun., Sept. 21, 2008

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