A half century ago, opening scenes of Academy Award winner filmed here

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Editor’sNote: The following story appeared in London’s Guardian , recalling the opening of one of the first R (and for a while X) rated films - one that was filmed 50 years ago, with the opening scenes in Big Spring and Stanton.

A number of the scenes shot in Stanton were not included in the final picture, but the filming here created more than a small stir.

It was a film that won the Academy Award for best picture and featured two young stars-to-be in Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. A few area residents may remember all of the excitement about the film - which seems quite tame by today’s standards.

STANTON - Midnight Cowboy was the first and only X-rated film to win the Academy Award for best picture, a fact that’s useful to know on trivia night, but otherwise needs to be appended by about five or six asterisks.

The Motion Picture Association of America originally rated the film an R, changed it to an X for its depiction of prostitution and homosexuality, and then changed it back to an R only two years later, a tacit acknowledgement that the board had gotten it right the first time.

Seeing the film today, 50 years later, the ratings controversy seems all the more curious, given the relative timidity of its nude scenes and a gay hustle at a Times Square theater that’s all uncomfortable glances and implication.


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