More About Blue Collar
In BLUE COLLAR, Paul Schrader's strong directorial debut, three assembly-line auto workers (Richard Pryor in one of his only serious dramatic roles, Harvey Keitel, and Yaphet Kotto) are equally angry and disenchanted at factory management and their own union. They are also, as the film reveals in long, detailed vignettes, struggling just to make ends meet. As they ruminate together on their dead-end jobs and the fears of a dead-end life, they eventually plan to burglarize their union's safe. The catch: Instead of finding cash as expected, they find ledgers documenting mob transactions. The relationship of the three friends is tested in the aftermath of this now-complex heist that was supposed to free the men from their torturous existence but instead has created more conflict in their lives. Pryor and Keitel are outstanding in this searing drama that looks at factory conditions and, more to the point, the condition of the male spirit when sacked with a hard, boring job that can barely support a family.
Main Cast & Crew
Paul Schrader - Director
Ed Begley Jr.
Cliff De Young
Theatrical Release: February 10, 1978. The movie was filmed on location in the Checker auto plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which closed shortly after filming was completed because of the death of the head of the plant. BLUE COLLAR is the directorial debut for writer Paul Schrader. Some of the lyrics of the theme song to the film, sung by Bo Didley, were written by Paul Schrader. Schrader said the film was "meant as a kind of social document." The screenplay was written by Schrader and his brother Leonard Schrader.
"...A powerful, gritty, seamless profile....Paul Schrader's directorial debut is an artistic triumph..." - 02/08/1978 Variety
"...The perfomances are excellent....The center of the film is...[Pryor who] for the first time makes use of the wit and fury that distinguish his straight comedy routines..." - 02/10/1977 New York Times, p.C5
4 stars out of 5 -- "[Pryor] is a revelation. His hangdog expression and impeccable timing mean he's as funny as ever....There are surprisingly delicate moments along the way, too..." - 02/01/2006 Uncut, p.102-103