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COCKFIGHTER
1974, Concorde-New Horizons, 83 min, USA, Dir: Monte Hellman

Monte Hellman, adapting the novel by Charles Willeford (Miami Blues), follows stubborn loner Warren Oates, who had been disqualified from receiving a Cockfighter of the Year award due to his boisterous, intoxicated behavior during a match. Oates takes a vow of silence until he wins again, and we follow him on his lonely odyssey, trying to regain his lost sense of worth as he partners with fast-talking gambler Omar (Richard B. Shull) and plans for the future with his sweetheart (Patricia Pearcy). Filmed on Georgia locations (cockfighting reportedly was still legal there) by Nestor Almendros, director Hellman creates another austere slice-of-life road saga, remaining true to the seedy milieu but bringing a compassion and insight to the characters indicative of his agile and elegant strengths as a filmmaker. With an exceptional cast that includes Harry Dean Stanton, Millie Perkins, Troy Donahue, Laurie Bird, Ed Begley Jr., Steve Railsback and a cameo by novelist Charles Willeford.


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