Richard Doyle's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Cockfighter (1974)
4 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Warren Oates stars as a champion cockfighter who lost out on winning a championship medal because he couldn't keep his mouth shut. He vows not to speak again until he wins the medal. This flick is well-known as one of the only films that Roger Corman produced that failed to make any money. Although it's really a great film, you can see why it didn't exactly set the exploitation circuit on fire. The only real exploitation angle that the film has going is cockfighting ... and there's a lot of it and it's real. Corman seems to have dropped his sure fire formula of including some violence, nudity or some other angle to appeal to the punters. What you do get here is a really classy bit of American existentialism, the kind that Hellman excels at, with a very strong wordless lead from Oates, and able supporting turns from Harry Dean Stanton, Steve Railsback and a very young Ed Begley, Jr. If you can stomach lots of birds trying to kill each other and succeeding quite often, it's a real gem.