John Schlesinger’s 1969 Hollywood film Midnight Cowboy allegorically registers and articulates three of the film’s broad historical contexts. In deterritorializing the figure of the cowboy, the film narrative allegorizes, simultaneously, the crisis of U. S. imperial nationalism produced by the war in Vietnam; an emerging gay liberation movement’s challenge to traditional forms of heterosexual — and national — masculinity; and the moment of global capitalist crisis and restructuring which severely threatened U. S. control of the world economy. Ultimately, the film dialectically, allegorically “maps” the complex relation between these distinct, contemporaneous historical developments in a way that poses fundamental questions about the heteronormativity of traditional Marxian models of totality.
Guilford Publications Inc.
Floyd, Kevin (2001). Closing the (Heterosexual) Frontier: Midnight Cowboy as National Allegory. Guilford Publications Inc. 65(1) 99-130. doi: 10.1521/siso.22.214.171.12493. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/engpubs/108