El Gallo de Oro is one of those works where a part overshadows the whole, with discomforting consequences - perhaps in Mexico in 1964, viewers of a film where a poor man takes up cockfighting (of all noble lifestyles to pursue) could focus on the protagonist and his internal journey to find a good life and bury his newly-deceased mother properly. For today's audience, however, which likely consists mainly of Spanish language students and connoisseurs of 60's hispanic cinema, the plot nearly becomes overshadowed by the constant reminders of exactly why cockfighting is now illegal. I'm not an animal rights extremist, either - I don't think many people could watch two roosters go at it (squawking and poking each other's eyes out until one kills the other with the four-inch blade strapped to its claws) and see this as a Glorious Triumph for the Poor Peasant who Just Wants to do the Right Thing.
I'm sure that this film has value in a historical context, showing how life for some in Mexico used to be. The scenery and the clothing are true to form, and some insight is given on the "bets, booze & broads" lifestyle of 1960's rico-suaves. El Gallo also takes every opportunity possible to showcase historic Mexican music, through Lucha Villa's forced mezzo-soprano belting into song (after song after song...). But for the most part, El Gallo de Oro only serves to leave the viewer happy that it's over, and relieved that today's generations of roosters can greet the dawn in peace.
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