Movie Reviews
Corky (1972)
By Hervé St-Louis
August 9, 2016 - 08:45

Studios: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Writer(s): Eugene Price
Starring: Robert Blake, Charlotte Rampling, Patrick O'Neal, Christopher Connelly
Directed by: James Salter
Produced by: Bruce Geller
Running Time: 88 minutes
Release Date: March 1972
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Distributors: Warner Home Video

Corky is a small time mechanic and a local stock car driver dreaming of making it big. Escaping from his family and responsibility after purposely injuring another driver on a dirt track, Corky seems poised to succeed at first until he sabotages his life and alienate everyone. Where will Corky crash next?

Robert Blake is Corky. I’ll address Blake’s first. I was asked by a friend when I set out to review this film if I should promote the film of a suspected murderer who although was found not guilty, is suspected by many to have killed his wife; think OJ Simpson. My response is that the film was shot at least a decade before the alleged crime and that it is still a classic 1970s car movie, in a genre where there is a lot of bad material.

I’m hoping not to glorify Blake here. If I could sit through Marvel’s Iron Man, the Avengers and every other movie that Robert Downey Junior appeared in, I can watch and review Corky. Granted that Downey is not suspected of having murdered anyone, but both he and Blake embody parallel mischievous characters in their own lives. Blake is Corky and his performance is a true as possible.

Blake plays a small town loser who hits it big for a while. But what Corky is a driven character who only cares about racing even if that costs him his wife, his kids, his job, and best friends. The movie is cheesy at times. It really screams at you how bad corky is and how he fucked up everything and that you should loathe him. Yet, I enjoy Corky because this Southern loser could be any of us. There is a fine line between greatness and stupidity and Corky reminds the viewer, in a preachy tone, about why strong anchors are needed in life.

The car chase parts are brief but featured prominently. It’s a movie about cars, about racing, drag, and street race, but the psychology of the characters matters more ultimately. There are a few good chases, skids and drifts but they serve the story instead of being about enjoying the moment. But car chase fans should not worry. The racing is not relegated to the back seat. Instead it serves as a framing device for the film.

The sound in Corky is not great. This film is available as a limited DVD print through a few retailers or directly through Warner Brothers. I’m happy that this movie has not been pirated yet. It is one of those films that true automotive movie buff should have in their collection. There are barely any extra features in this film. It seems that Warner wanting to not glorify Blake, made this movie available to fans of the genres but does not advertise what should probably in a top 25 list of classic car flicks. Corky is for connoisseurs.

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