Blue Collar



Paul Schrader’s directorial debut is a wild affair: in 1970s Detroit the three colleagues Zeke, Jerry and Smokey are only moderately successful as car mechanics. Under the supervision of a nasty foreman, they work on the production line for a miserable wage and under poor working conditions, feeling generally abandoned by their trade union. Driven by sudden financial distress, they decide to sneak into the factory buildings at night to crack open the vault. To their surprise, they don’t get hold of the money they hoped for, but unexpectedly find evidence of a nasty corruption scandal. But this soon turns out to be more than they can deal with. Brilliantly cast with Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto, Blue Collar differs from the usual works of New Hollywood primarily thanks to its realistic accuracy. Nevertheless, Schrader’s goal is not objectivity. Rather, he uses the proximity to his characters to create an early masterpiece, thanks to its explosive mixture of genre elements, physical immediacy and blunt dialogues. (pj)


Print courtesy of the Paul Schrader Collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive



USA 1978
114 Min. Color. 35 mm.. E/d

Director: Paul Schrader

Script: Paul Schrader, Leonard Schrader

Camera: Bobby Byrne

Editor: Tom Rolf

Music: Jack Nitzsche

Cast: Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto, Ed Begley jr.


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