Hell on Wheels (1967)

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Released 12-Jan-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-Marty Robbins At 'Town Hall Party',
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1967
Running Time 96:05
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Will Zens
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Marty Robbins
John Ashley
Gigi Perreau
Connie Smith
The Stonemans
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Brothers Marty Robbins (Marty Robbins) and Del (John Ashley) are involved in the NASCAR circuit, racing stock cars. Marty drives and sings (not at the same time) and Del is a mechanic. Del gets jealous of Marty when he chats up his girl, so Del becomes a driver himself. He also gets mixed up in a moonshine liquor business, which attracts the attention of federal agents. The moonshiners are also a pretty dirty bunch. Anyway, Marty must race, and sing, and sing, and race and get his brother out of the clutches of the bad guys.

    This was a vehicle (get it?) for country and western singer Marty Robbins, who in real life was a NASCAR enthusiast and driver. It's a pity that with all that singing and driving that he never learned how to act. Mind you, in this movie he doesn't seem out of place, as it is quite dreadful. The direction and editing are awful, the acting is inept and the script is laughable and predictable. I had mistakenly thought that this was one of those genre motorcycle movies of the late 1960s, otherwise I would have steered (get it?) clear of it. If you are a Robbins fan, you might get something out of this, as he sings several songs, but the casual viewer should beware.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. I imagine the original aspect ratio was 1.37:1.

    This is a pretty dismal transfer in most respects. It looks like it was taken from a video master, not a print, as the transfer is ill-defined and blurry, in fact no better than VHS. There is sufficient detail to watch it, but it is not good by any criteria. Colour is also murky, looking a little muted and not entirely realistic. Contrast and brightness are average for VHS material.

    Two significant film to video artefacts I encountered were excessive noise reduction, with the picture at times looking as though it was on several different planes of brightness that moved independently of one another, and MPEG compression artefacts. The latter results in plenty of macro-blocking. There are also plenty of film artefacts, mostly minor flecks, dirt and debris.

    The disc is single-layered and there are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    A pretty poor effort this. The audio is distorted and often unclear. It sounds as though it wasn't recorded satisfactorily in the first place, and the acoustic seems to change between lines, as though they were re-recorded in the studio without trying to match the acoustic of the 'live' recording. There is often a metallic droning discernable in the background.

    Well, if you came for the music, it sounds no better than the rest of the audio. Robbins sings five songs, plus there are guest spots by some other performances in between the interminable car races and the ludicrous plot developments.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer-Marty Robbins At 'Town Hall Party' (1:56)

    A trailer for what seems to be an old black and white television broadcast of a concert with Robbins as one of the acts. Not so much a trailer as a short excerpt.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc seems to be available in Region 1, but I can find no reviews of it.

Summary

    A dismal film which even die-hard car-racing fans should avoid.

    The video and audio quality are both poor.

    There are no substantial extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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