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Midnight Cowboy Blu-ray

United States
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer | 1969 | 113 min | Rated R | May 29, 2011

Midnight Cowboy (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
French: DTS 5.1
Italian: DTS 5.1
German: DTS 5.1
(more)

Subtitles
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian… (more)

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Playback
Region free

Price
List price: $19.99, Price history
Amazon: $13.96 (Save 30%)
New from: $9.46 (Save 53%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8.1
/10
129
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 3.4 of 53.4
Audio 3.5 of 53.5
Extras 3.7 of 53.7
Based on 6 user reviews

Movie appeal

 
Drama100%

67%
popularity
878
collections
39
fans




Midnight Cowboy

 (1969)

Midnight Cowboy Blu-ray offers solid video and audio in this overall recommended Blu-ray release

A slightly dim-witted young Texan journeys to New York City to offer his services as a stud-for-hire, but spends a hard winter helping a tubercular con man.

For more about Midnight Cowboy and the Midnight Cowboy Blu-ray release, see Midnight Cowboy Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Barnard Hughes, Brenda Vaccaro
Director: John Schlesinger

» See full cast & crew


Midnight Cowboy Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.5 of 5

From the description and screenshots, this appears to be the same transfer and encode featured on the region-free UK Blu-ray released in May 2011. (The extras and most of the audio and subtitle options are also identical.) As noted in the previous review, the source material is far from pristine, with numerous instances of dust, small scratches and other analogue wear-and-tear. Some of the worst problems occur during the opening title sequence, because the titles would have been superimposed by optical printing in that era, thereby locking in any dirt or damage. Cinematographer Adam Holender reportedly oversaw a restoration for the film's 25th anniversary, but that was most likely performed photochemically, given the state of digital imaging at the time. What Midnight Cowboy needs is a digital restoration comparable to the work done on the Godfather trilogy. Whether MGM's precarious finances will support such an effort is doubtful.

Even with digital restoration, however, Midnight Cowboy would remain a grainy film, as it is on this Blu-ray. As DP Holender notes in the "After Midnight" documentary, much of the film was shot with deliberate underexposure to obtain a particular pallette. With then-contemporary film stocks and lenses, underexposure could not help but accentuate the grain, and even with current digital tools, there is only so much that can be done without altering the intended look. It should be remembered that in 1969 no one sat in a movie theater complaining about "grainy" images. You watched what was on the screen and experienced the image that was there. It's only as a result of high-resolution images on home video that terms like "grainy", "desaturated", "vibrant", "razor-sharp", etc. have acquired a status as value judgments instead of being purely descriptive.

The AVC-encoded image on the Midnight Cowboy Blu-ray is extremely grainy compared to any contemporary production, but once your eye adjusts to it, you realize that there is plenty of fine detail to be observed in the image - detail that wouldn't be there if the grain were recklessly stripped away with noise-reduction software. Detail is essential here, both for the increasingly appalling degrees of squalor in which Joe is forced to live and for the bizarre, almost decadent surroundings into which he gets a peek from time to time, whether uptown at the homes of prospective clients or downtown at a Warhol-like party.

Some scenes are notably less grainy, especially the scenes in Ratzo's Florida reverie. Holender notes in the documentary that these scenes used overexposure, which also accounts for their intense colors. The New York scenes tend to be desaturated and cold, although certain colors stand out, especially in Joe's inappropriately flamboyant wardrobe.

Black levels are generally good, although some crushing is evident in night scenes. Here again, underexposure is no doubt the cause.


Midnight Cowboy Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.5 of 5

The 2006 "collector's edition" two-disc DVD set featured a newly created 5.1 track, plus the original mono track. Only the 5.1 track appears on the Blu-ray, in DTS lossless. As 5.1 remixes go, this one is conservative and reasonably effective. It stays in front and does almost nothing with the surrounds. Dialogue occasionally moves left or right, but generally remains in the center. As is often the case, the music is the chief beneficiary of the remix, with the Nilsson rendition of "Everybody's Talkin'" sounding especially vivid and John Barry's haunting ballad for harmonica hovering over the proceedings like both an anthem and a dirge.


Midnight Cowboy: Other Editions



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