The New York Film Society of Lincoln Center continues its month-long series of reappraisals of gifted—and even honored-in-their-own-time—film icons, with a four-film revival May 25 and May 26 of John Schlesinger’s British-made Billy Liar (1963) and Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), and his American-made Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Day of the Locust (1975).
Schlesinger (1926—2003) was never an official, card-carrying member of the British school of socially “committed” cinema run by the likes of Lindsay Anderson, Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson, which formed as a counterweight to the comparatively apolitical Cahiers du Cinéma filmmakers, including, among others, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer. (Of course, Godard became provocatively political as his career evolved.) Still, Schlesinger did more than his share of envelope-pushing, especially with the bisexual taboos in place at the time of Midnight Cowboy and Sunday Bloody Sunday, the latter the first mainstream movie with a sequence that showed one man kissing another full on the lips.
Billy Liar, with Tom Courtenay, Julie Christie, Mona Washbourne, Finlay Currie and Leonard Rossiter, will be shown on Friday, May 25, at 1:30 p.m. and 6:20 p.m. Day of the Locust, with Donald Sutherland, Karen Black, Burgess Meredith, William Atherton and Geraldine Page, will be shown Friday, May 25, at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 26, at 6 p.m.
Midnight Cowboy, with Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, Sylvia Miles, Brenda Vaccaro and Bob Balaban, will be shown on Friday, May 25, at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 26, at 3:45 p.m. Sunday Bloody Sunday, with Glenda Jackson, Peter Finch, Murray Head, Peggy Ashcroft and Jon Finch, will be shown on Saturday, May 26, at 1:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. All films will be screened at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.