By Sean Rogers
B-movie king Roger Corman’s original vision of Cockfighter (1974) must have differed immensely from the finished film. Corman’s version, one imagines, would have involved a proudly vulgar depiction of an illegal, bloody activity tended to by cartoonishly ignorant southerners, blending vicarious thrills, brutality, and condescension in a sure recipe for success. Imagine Corman’s surprise, then, when he discovered that one of his productions, seemingly destined for cheap and sleazy profitability like so many others, turned out to be something of an art film. Roger Corman has directed and produced some 137 films, notes screenwriter Charles Willeford in his on-set memoir; â€œand Cockfighter, he said, was the only movie he ever lost any money on.