To coincide with the Art’s opening of Paul Schrader’s acclaimed new feature FIRST REFORMED, our Late Night the weekend of June 15th is Schrader’s outstanding directorial debut BLUE COLLAR — arguably one of the best American films on class and race and an incisive yet humorous critique of Western capitalism.
Three workers, Zeke (Richard Pryor), Jerry (Harvey Keitel), and Smokey (Yaphet Kotto), are working at a car plant and drinking their beers together. One night when they steal away from their wives to have some fun they get the idea to rob the local union’s bureau safe. First they think it is a flop, because they get only 600 dollars out of it, but then Zeke realizes that they also have gotten some ‘hot’ material. They decide to blackmail their union. The best reason for that is the union itself. All three are provoked by the fact that the union claims to have lost 10,000 dollars by their robbery. (1978, Paul Schrader, U.S., English, 104 mins, R, DCP)
“It is an angry, radical movie about the vise that traps workers between big industry and big labor. It’s also an enormously entertaining movie; it earns its comparison with “On the Waterfront.” And it’s an extraordinary directing debut for Paul Schrader, whose credits include “Taxi Driver” and “Rolling Thunder.” — Roger Ebert, RogerEbert.com (CLICK HERE for full review)
“Paul Schrader’s directorial debut is an artistic triumph. Schrader has transformed a carefully researched original screenplay penned by him and his brother Leonard into a powerful, gritty, seamless profile of three automobile assembly line workers banging their heads against the monotony and corruption that is the factory system.” — Variety
“Pryor’s best film and his best performance and that’s not taking anything anyway from hs co-stars Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto.” — IndieWire