In making Midnight Cowboy John Schlesinger took a minor American novel of existentialist angst and transformed it into a cinematic version of the classic literary genre, or Bildungsroman, in which a young man full of illusions travels from the provinces to the big city. The film possesses formal features that give it a modernist inflection, such as the montage of images in the modern city, but from a structural, moral, and psychological point of view, Midnight Cowboy is a Bildungsfilm–a perfect marriage of nineteenth-century themes and twentieth-century techniques.


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