In the midst of Hollywood rehashing old TV shows from the 70s and 80s, they’ve been working on a big screen version of The Dukes of Hazzard. I will repeat that because I think that it bears repeating. Somebody in Hollywood greenlit a movie with Stifler and Johnny Knoxville as Bo and Luke Duke, and Jessica Simpson as their cousin Daisy, as they taunt and evade Boss Hogg played by, wait for it….Burt Reynolds. Someone should be brought up on charges for this, because that sound you’re hearing is Hollywood scrapin… the bottom of the barrel of ideas.
That’s not to say that perhaps they aren’t trying to capitalize on a potentially big crowd. I mean, the show was a staple on CBS TV for 7 seasons, running for almost 150 episodes. You can’t do much better than that with 2 good looking guys, a good looking girl and the requisite pile of car tricks each episode. It was Southern boys acting like Southern boys, having fun and staying close to their family. Warner brothers has put the entire second season (23 episodes) out on 4 flipper discs. Quite a few well known names of the South appeared through the years on the show. Among those recognizable are Nascar driver Cale Yarborough (it was 1980, keep that in mind) along with musicians Mel Tillis, The Oak Ridge Boys and Loretta Lynn.
Some of the cast even have some good variety. Before his spin-off show Enos, Sonny Shroyer could be spotted in films like The Longest Yard. James Best, a.k.a. Sherriff Rosco P. Coltrane, appeared in Sounder with Paul Winfield. Before driving to the interstate in the sky, Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke) and Uncle Jesse (Denver Pyle) had been in film classics Fail-Safe and Bonnie and Clyde. Sure, they’re better known by their later roles, but these guys had some experience behind them. Since the show went off the air, Cooter (Ben Jones) received some notoriety for several congressional runs, some successful.
Ultimately the show saw some great popularity during its second season, along with some drama, as Best and Jones began disputes with the studio over their contracts, and eventually left the show, followed eventually by John Schneider (Bo) and Tom Wopat (Luke), so if you’re a true fan, this season is as good as it got I suppose.
What, you were expecting a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix from a TV show filmed in 1980? Having said that, the mono audio track sounds OK, if not perfectly acceptable, for this release.
1.33:1 Full frame TV viewing, as if the petitions to have Dukes in widescreen were completely ignored. Bastards! Perfectly acceptable considering the show and source material.
Warner managed to locate some screen test footage of Wopat and Schneider that lasts about 4 minutes, and a 30 minute look at the fanfest that the show has each year, specifically the 25th anniversary show which features appearances by Shroyer, Best, and Daisy herself, Catherine Bach. Many people have remade General Lees and even police cars, and there’s a lot of driving, drag racing and stunts that are done this weekend, as the piece suggests. All in all, you get an idea of the people who follow this show.
The precursor to shows with car chases and stunts in the 1980s, the Dukes of Hazzard finally comes to DVD for fans of the show. Decent audio and video qualities aside, watching this show should hopefully make people forget there’s a movie on the way.
Special Features List
- Extreme Hazzard: documentary gallery covering the 25th anniversary festival and featuring series stars, stunt drivers, and fans
- John Schneider and Tom Wopat screen tests