Cockfighter/Mad Dog Morgan [DVD]

Monte Hellman's cult favorite about a singularly obsessed man trying to regain his status as a champion in cockfighting gets a new DVD release in this budget-priced edition from Alpha Home Entertainment. Cockfighter has been given a letterboxed transfer to disc at the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image hasn't been enhanced for play on 16x9 monitors, and the picture is soft and grainy, not looking as strong as it did in Anchor Bay's out-of-print 2001 release. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo from the original monophonic sound mix, and the unimpressive quality is about on a par with the visuals. The dialogue is in English, with no subtitles or multiple language options. As a bonus, this disc comes with a handful of trailers for other titles available from Alpha as well as a second feature, the Dennis Hopper vehicle Mad Dog Morgan, which appears in a ragged-looking full screen transfer that appears to have been taken from a worn video source, which was in turn struck from a scratchy and splicy film print. Beyond its low price and the fact it makes a strong and unusual film available again to collectors, this DVD doesn't have much to recommend it, and enthusiasts might want to try digging up the old Anchor Bay release instead.
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Mad Dog Morgan
Dennis Hopper plays the title character in this true story of a 19th-century Australian gold-digger who is pressed into a life of crime. A six-year stint in jail doesn't provide reform, but does introduce him to an Aboriginal partner-in-crime (David Gulpilil). The duo then proceed to terrorize the province of New South Wales with no lack of violence. The TV version was retitled Mad Dog. ~ John Bush, Rovi

Frank Mansfield (Warren Oates) is a game cock trainer who has taken a vow of silence; he once bragged too loudly about his cockfighting prowess and ended up losing his best fowl in a drunken, late-night match before an important tournament. To regain his pride after such hubris, Frank refuses to utter a word until he wins the coveted "Cockfighter of the Year" medal. Cockfighter follows his ups and downs as he attempts to succeed in the shadowy, barely legal sport. Frank loses his truck, trailer, and a girlfriend after trying to rig a match with fellow cocksman Jack Burke (Harry Dean Stanton), and has to sell his house to raise funds for stock. Later, Frank wins ten roosters in a private backwoods match and trains them heavily with his partner, Omar Baradinsky (Richard B. Shull), working his way back to the top of his chosen craft. He also attempts to reestablish his relationship with an old girlfriend (Patricia Pearcy) who doesn't know much about cockfighting and is repulsed when she actually witnesses one in the flesh. There is plenty of brutal footage included in Cockfighter that will dismay many animal lovers, so those with qualms about the sport should steer clear. ~ Fred Beldin, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Dennis Hopper
    Dennis Hopper - Daniel Morgan
  • Jack Thompson
    Jack Thompson - Detective Manwaring
  • David Gulpilil
    David Gulpilil - Billy
  • Image coming soon
    Frank Thring - Superintendent Cobham
  • Michael Pate
    Michael Pate - Superintendent Winch
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.