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Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation,
and the Making of a Dark Classic
“For fans of Midnight Cowboy and scholars of the New Hollywood, this book is indispensable. You don’t need to be either, however, to gain joy and insight from its extraordinary repository of character studies and anecdotes. Lucidly told, compassionate towards every one of its numerous human subjects, it shines new light on a much visited time, turning the tale of one movie into a chronicle of people and creation that’s at once addictively readable and profoundly humane."
Hannah McGill, Sight & Sound, Summer Issue 2021
Look for Nancy Buirski's compelling new documentary, Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy, inspired by Glenn's book, playing in indie theaters around the country and streamable on Amazon Prime, VUDU, Showtime, etc.
Also, for those fond of the Florida Keys, check out KEY WEST SKETCHES, a lively and entertaining new collection of writing by and about Key West authors, including Glenn's piece on James Leo Herlihy, author of Midnight Cowboy.
SHOOTING MIDNIGHT COWBOY made Publisher's Weekly's list of the Top Twenty Nonfiction Books of 2021, the Washington Post's Top Fifty list, and NPR's Best Books of the year.
Glenn was awarded a 2021-22 fellowship by the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the City University of New York for a book on Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Click here for details.
Click here to read "Midnight Cowboy Still Has That X Factor," Glenn's 2022 article in the Washington Post.
Click here for a lively discussion of Glenn's three movie books with John Bleasdale for his recent "Writers on Film" podcast.
Click here to see Glenn's article at Vanity Fair's HWD: "Inside the Myths and Legends of Midnight Cowboy "
"A rare cinema book that is as mesmerizing as its subject.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"The decade's first essential cultural history"
---Charles Kaiser, The Guardian
Fifty years after its release, Midnight Cowboy remains one of the most original and memorable movies of the modern era. Set in a New York besieged by economic collapse, social unrest, and cultural ferment, the movie tells the story of two homeless loners who join forces out of desperation and struggle to survive. It features superb performances by Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight and the supporting cast, spirited direction by John Schlesinger, a brilliant screenplay by blacklist survivor Waldo Salt, and a memorable musical soundtrack, featuring “Everybody’s Talkin’,” written by Fred Neil and performed by Nilsson. The result was the only X-rated film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Glenn Frankel’s book traces the origins of this dark masterpiece and the gifted people who created it, starting with James Leo Herlihy, the handsome young author, playwright, and actor, with a closetful of secrets about his sexuality, his periodic bouts of depression and his taste for emotionally damaged characters. Schlesinger and producer Jerome Hellman turned his novel into a cutting-edge portrait of love and loneliness, compassion and squalor among the most unlikely of people in the most unlikely of places—“so rough and vivid,” wrote New York Times film critic Vincent Canby, “that it’s almost unbearable.”...read more
PRAISE FOR SHOOTING MIDNIGHT COWBOY:
“This enthralling account of a boundary-breaking film is catnip for film buffs.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Midnight Cowboy is an acknowledged classic of American cinema, and Frankel provides us with the context we need to fully appreciate the film as a vivid snapshot of a specific time and place in American history.”
—David Pitt, Booklist (starred review)
"Through the prism of a compassionate, taboo-busting movie, Glenn Frankel has given us a master class in filmmaking that doubles as a rich cultural history of a tumultuous epoch. Shooting Midnight Cowboy takes us from Swinging London to gritty late sixties New York to the creative ferment of the New Hollywood, in a consistently entertaining tour full of vibrant, indelible characters. I loved this book."
—Margaret Talbot, staff writer at The New Yorker and author of The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth Century