Paul Schrader is often overshadowed by his more famous collaborator Martin Scorsese, which is a shame, because despite Schrader’s own movies being wildly uneven, when they are good they are very good indeed. ‘Blue Collar’ is one of his very best works. A funny, sad and powerful look at three working class guys in a Detroit car factory, it is one of the last Hollywood movies to seriously look at your average working joe and the problems he faces on a daily basis. The three leads are all wonderful, and despite rumoured off screen problems, show a lot of genuine rapport and comaraderie. Harvey Keitel (‘Mean Streets’, ‘Bad Lieutenant’) is one of the finest actors of his generation, and Yaphet Koto (‘Alien’, ‘Live And Let Die’) is a well respected character actor, but the revelation here is funny man Richard Pryor (‘Silver Streak’) who displays a depth of talent few would have thought him capable of. The three buddies are joined by a first class supporting cast including Lane Smith (‘Over The Edge’), Cliff De Young (‘The Hunger’) and George Memmoli (‘The Phantom Of The Paradise’). Also keep an eye out for a brief cameo by future ‘Repo Man’ star Tracey Walter, who Schrader also used in a bit part in his next movie ‘Hardcore’. ‘Blue Collar’ is a fine movie, one of the most underrated of the 1970s, and still relevant and powerful twenty five years later. Don’t miss it.
The vinyl soundtrack also has “Speak My Mind” performed by J.B. Hutto (Columbia Records) and “The World I’m Livin’ In” performed by Byron Berline and Sundance (MCA Records) on it, but I can’t find these tracks online. Anyone?