Midnight Cowboy Soundtrack Report

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MUSC 1113 11:45
Reflection in Sound
The movie Midnight Cowboy, which was released in 1969, fully embodies the themes and the issues that were coming to the forefront of society and films during the new Hollywood era of the 1960s and 1970s. John Schlesinger’s film follows the story of a young man who leaves his home in Texas to become a male prostitute in New York City, and the trials and tribulations he encounters along the way. The soundtrack accompanying the film does not entirely consist of a compilation score of popular songs but it was done in the contemporary style of the time. The main song that presents itself multiple times throughout the film is “Everybody’s Talkin” by Harry Nilsson. We are first introduced to this song in the beginning of the film as it is made apparent that the main character, Joe, has packed his belongings and is getting ready to leave the place he is. The images we see are reiterated by the lyrics of the song that go “I’m going where the sun keeps shining”, implying to the audience that Joe is traveling to somewhere better to seek new opportunities. Upon first hearing the song it seems like one of hope and new beginnings but as the song is repeated in later sections of the movie, the hopefulness that seemed attached to it gets distorted by the story of the film. The song is played again at various parts where Joe is wandering the city or attempting to accomplish different tasks just to scrape by in New York. After each one of these attempts to make a comfortable life, we see a failure which further distorts the nature of the song as it is repeated again. Instead of using multiple popular songs to evoke different meanings and reactions from the audience, the use of the same song allowed for an interesting affect achieved through the synchronization of image and music. The montage sequence, a common technique of this era, was also utilized in this film accompanied by various popular style compositions by John Barry. These...
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