Thursday, December 12, 2019


Jocelyn (Alex Descas) admires his cock
in No Fear, No Die

Dah (Isaach De Bankole)  and Jocelyn (Alex Descas) are two Caribbean men who train and fight roosters for profit (they hope) in France under the guidance of Pierre, who supplies the area where the fighting and wagers take place. It is an interesting though unpleasant character study of a rather seedy business, which ends with the death of the prize rooster (Named No Fear, No Die) as well as one of the men.
The word cock as described as a rooster used to fight with can clearly be seen as an extension of the other common meaning of the word. Pierre says something to the effect of “Once you get the taste of cock, you can never give it up.” He’s talking about fighting roosters, isn’t he?

Musical reference: The title No Fear, No Die keeps making me think of the Bob Marley song No Woman, No Cry. That song is not used in the movie, but the Marley song Buffalo Soldiers is used twice.

Casting notes: Isaach De Bankole and Alex Descas were later re-teamed in one of the sketches in Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes.

Solveig Dommartin in No Fear, No Die

The lovely Solveig Dommartin plays the female lead here and previously played the acrobat in Wings of Desire.

Warren Oates strokes his cock
in Cockfighter

In Monte Hellman’s Cockfighter, the cockfighter played by Warren Oates has rendered himself mute (or castrated) until he gets named Cockfighter of the Year. When he finally does win the prize, he can speak, but his girlfriend no longer wants to be with someone who is involved in something so sordid as cockfighting. He then pulls the head off his prize cock (another form of castration) and declares that she still loves him even though it appears she has walked out on him for good.

The I remember reference: I remember this movie as being controversial on release and reading an article in the Atlanta Constitution about it at the time, but have never seen it until now! The movie being filmed in Georgia may be why it got a little extra ink in that paper during the initial theatrical run.

Casting notes: For fans of Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop, we have a scene where hitchhiker Lori Byrd is driving in a car with Warren Oates when she is not driving with The Mechanic and The Driver. The first scene in Cockfighter has Byrd and Oates driving down the road almost as if they were still in the previous movie! This is a nice touch. Hitchhiker Harry Dean Stanton form Two-Lane Blacktop is also along for the ride in Cockfighter.

Also of note: Cockfighter producer Roger Corman states that this film was one of the few of his movies that didn't turn a profit. For more on Corman, you might want to check out the book Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman, King of the B-Movie.

Cockfighter (the novel) author Charles Willeford has a nice supporting role as one of the guys who runs the fights in Cockfighter (the movie).

Cockfighter was also released under
the title Born to Kill. The scenes depicted
on this poster must have been from some other
movie, because I certainly didn't see them 
in Cockfighter!

Conclusions: Personally, I think two movies back-to-back about cock fighting may be enough for the week... or maybe forever.

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