Slippery When Wet (1958)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-May-2001

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Surfing None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1958
Running Time 72:18
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bruce Brown

Warner Vision
Starring Kemp Aaberg
Del Cannon
Henry Ford
Freddy Pfhaler
Dick Thomas
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Bud Shank

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles French
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Slippery When Wet is a surfing film that follows a group of five Californian surfers as they travel around Hawaii looking for the perfect surf.

    This was the first "real" movie from surf film veteran Bruce Brown, who later went on to direct the classic Endless Summer. In 1958 Bruce was given a budget of five thousand dollars to produce a surf film. This budget was to cover all travel, cameras, film, living expenses and production costs.

    Surfer Del Cannon, who was to go on and feature in many of Bruce's future films, heads a group of surfers on a trip to Hawaii to surf at locations around the main island. Surf breaks featured in this film include Yokohama, Waikiki, Pupukea, Sunset, and Makaha.

   At the start of the film, Bruce Brown gives a short introduction where he displays some of the equipment associated with this film including the original financial records that show a profit of two dollars from the original run. In the middle of the film the original intermission is included and at this point Bruce Brown gives a short history outlining what happened to many of the surfers featured in the film. Both the introduction and the intermission segments were recorded for the films re-release on video in 1990.

    This is an entertaining surfing film that shows footage from surfing's golden age. If you have enjoyed other films from Bruce, Slippery When Wet will make an interesting addition to your collection and give you an insight into the history of the film maker.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video quality of this film is quite acceptable considering the age and type of source elements involved.

    The feature is presented Full Frame (1.33:1) and consequently is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is rather soft, but considering the source material was shot on 16mm stock and is more than 40 years old, this is quite acceptable. Some low level noise is apparent during the introduction and intermission segments but does not occur at any other stage in the transfer. This low level noise is not distracting at any stage. Shadow detail does not pose any real problems here as nearly all shots are brightly lit in full sunlight. One short scene that shows poor shadow detail can be seen at 62:32 but as it only lasts a few seconds this is only slightly disruptive to the viewer. Quite a few of the original shots were overexposed in their initial filming and consequently show poor contrast - an example of this can be seen at 7:13.

    Colour is acceptable throughout and is consistent with film processes of the time. i.e. the colours look like a 1960s film and not the bright vibrant colours we expect from today's films.

    At no stage during the feature are MPEG artefacts visible. Aliasing also poses no problem at any stage in the film.

    There are constant film artefacts that can be seen in nearly every shot. Initially this is very distracting, but you are able to easily accept and ignore these as the feature progresses. A number of small problems can be seen during many scene changes, with the film splices showing some damage. This results in a quick flash being visible at many of the edit points during the film but these are easily overlooked and are not distracting. There is a reasonable amount of film grain evident throughout most of the transfer, as you would expect from a 16mm film over forty years old. This is also able to be easily ignored by the viewer.

    A small number of NTSC to PAL conversion artefacts can be seen during the feature with examples visible at 2:17, 9:28 and 13:46. There are a few occasions, such as 20:50 and 21:29, where telecine wobble occurs. A couple of analogue tape errors can be seen at 2:24 and 57:52 which occur for a single frame each. All of these artefacts are not distracting to the viewer.

   Three subtitle tracks - French, German and Spanish - are included. These are displayed in a white font with a black outline and are easy to read at all times. I am unable to comment as to the accuracy of these titles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The only audio track presented on this disc is the original 1/4" tape recording as a Dolby Digital 1.0 192Kb/s track.

    The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand during the film. As the film is narrated with a voice-over, dialogue sync was never a problem during the transfer. There were no audio dropouts at any stage.

    This was the first film scored by jazz legend Bud Shank and it is effectively presented here, in the original format, performed by the Bud Shank Quartet.

    The surround channels and subwoofer were not used at any stage.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The themed menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and has no accompanying audio.

R4 vs R1

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

    Both versions of this film appear to be identical and I therefore would have no preference for either version.


    Slippery When Wet is an entertaining look back to the golden age of surfing presented adequately on this disc considering the source materials involved.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Friday, April 06, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE