Friday, 4 May 2018

The Inequality, Culture and Difference research seminar series presents:
Hollywood Trade: Midnight Cowboy and Underground Cinema
Dr Gary Needham, University of Liverpool
Wednesday 15th November, 1-2pm MAE101 – all welcome!

ABSTRACT: Nearly all accounts of the Hollywood Renaissance (1967-1975) champion the influence of European Cinema and many of the critical discourse around key film such as Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate draw from such comparisons between anti-classicism and European art cinema. This paper instead, argues, that an over-emphasis on European cinema neglects to account for an influence closer to Hollywood in the American Underground cinema. More than any other film from the Renaissance canon, Midnight Cowboy’s subject matter appears to invoke the underground through the figure of the male hustler and a key scene, an ‘underground party’ that evokes Andy Warhol Factory. As a matter of fact, the film’s production reached out to Warhol to assist with the ‘party scene’. However, Warhol’s perception was that Midnight Cowboy tried to co-opt underground cinema practices to the extent that he felt hustled by Hollywood.  The paper closes with a discussion of Andy Warhol’s Flesh, a film Warhol put into production at the same time as Midnight Cowboy with a view to presenting the underground (or avant-garde) ‘point-of-view’.

BIO: Gary Needham is senior lecturer in film and media at The University of Liverpool. He is the author of Brokeback Mountain (EUP 2010) and the co-editor of Asian Cinemas (EUP 2006), Queer TV (Routledge 2009), and Warhol in Ten Takes (BFI 2013). He is the co-editor of the book series American Indies (EUP) and Hollywood Centenary (Routledge). He is currently working on a book on Warhol’s cinema and Edie Sedgwick (Bloomsbury) and a collection titled Screening American Cinema (Routledge).


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