Monte Hellman's Cockfighter

I am a huge Monte Hellman fan. Let me just put that out there. TWO LANE BLACKTOP, RIDE THE WHIRLWIND, THE SHOOTING...all in my top 25. I'm also a huge Warren Oates fan; THE WILD BUNCH, TWO LANE BLACKTOP, THE HIRED HAND, BADLANDS, BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA...I could go on and on. Oates starred in many of Hellman's pictures and this is one of my favorites. 

I just found out that on Wednesday, November 15th, Cinema Overdrive, a local film series, gets down and dirty with this wonderfully odd and eccentric epic. The film will be screened at 7:30 PM at The Cary Theater, 122 E Chatham St, Cary, NC 27511. Tickets are only $5, so if you live anywhere remotely close to Cary, make it a point to be there.

COCKFIGHTER stars Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, Patricia Pearcy, Laurie Bird, Richard Shull, Troy Donahue, and Millie Perkins.


Below are excerpts from Adam Hulin, the curator of Cinema Overdrive, regarding COCKFIGHTER:

For reasons still not quite clear, producer Roger Corman was 100% convinced that a film about roosters fighting to the death was box office gold and bought the rights to Charles Willeford's book. Hellman, a longtime Corman associate who'd just been fired from a job in Hong Kong, was intrigued by the idea of doing a film about a strange, underground subculture in spite of finding the subject matter nauseating.


Hellman's regular leading man, the always amazing Warren Oates, joked that his character, who takes a vow of silence, was the easiest he'd ever played since he didn't have to remember any dialogue. Most of the rest of the cast (Stanton, Perkins, Bird) were from Hellman's previous films or were locals involved in the soon-to-be-illegal sport.

COCKFIGHTER has the distinction of being the only film Roger Corman produced at New World Pictures that lost money. For once, he misjudged what the drive-in audiences wanted to see, but COCKFIGHTER has since built a strong cult audience among those who love movies that fall under the category of "only in the '70s."