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September 1, 2015

Episode 234: Blue Collar (1978)

Special Guest: Paul Schrader
Guest Co-Host: Maitland McDonagh

Just in time for Labor Day, we're looking at the 1978 film all about the working man, Blue Collar. Directed and co-written by Paul Schrader it tells the tale of three men played by Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto, and Richard Pryor working the line in our fair city - Detroit - dealing with factory work, family, the union, fraud, race and more.
Buy Blue Collar on DVD
Buy Blue Collar by Paul and Leonard Schrader
Buy Schrader on Schrader by Paul Schrader and Kevin Jackson
Buy Paul Schrader: Collected Screenplays Volume 1 by Paul Schrader
Visit the official Paul Schrader website
View a slideshow of Paul Schrader materials from the Harry Ransom Center
Visit Maitland McDonagh's 120 Days Books

Listen/Download Now:

"Hard Workin Man" - Captain Beefheart
"Cadillac Assembly Line" - Albert King



  1. Part of what makes that braces scene in Blue Collar all the more bizarre is the shirt that Keitel is wearing. Perhaps you guys are too young to recall the original McDonalds Big Mac promotion.."twoallbeefpatties...etc." but not being sure if product placement was much of an issue at the time BC was made, after all lot's of Strohs Beer consumed as well, I've always fixated on the weirdness of Keitel wearing that shirt, particularly in the most heart wrenching scene in the movie! Crazy stuff...and I saw it in high school with a couple of pals that were Pryor fans, while I was a budding cineaste who was excited to see the next thing from the guy that wrote Taxi Driver. I was astonished by Blue Collar while my friends swore up and down that it was the last time I was going to pick the movie. I ended going solo to most films between that one and when I went off to college.

    Thanks for another great episode. Bring on Hardcore!!! (Unless you've already done it and I missed it in my quick scan of your list)

    Jeff Goodman
    SF, CA

    1. Totally cool I am seeing that now and such a cast playing smokey from the alien movie after I think 79. I'm going to keep searching I want to get one of those shirts being in my mid 50's ¡!

  2. The Foreign ViewerJun 24, 2016, 10:39:00 AM

    Talk about movies with perfect endings. Fantastic social commentary, the best serious Pryor's performance and one of the best working class movies ever made. Too bad no one saw it. Yaphet Kotto was also the boss (figuratively and literally) on the classic 1990s NBC cop drama Homicide: Life on the Street that preceded the Wire. Harvey Keitel can now and then still be seen in some interesting projects (you ought to see The Congress (2013), a very current Gilliamesque satirical Sci-fi drama about the future of the movie business). Speaking of Pryor, any thoughts on Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling?