Arny joins a hot rod club, but his eccentric mannerisms (a Marlon Brando rip-off performance from "The Wild One" by look-alike Hartunian) make him unpopular. At a party, Terry rebukes him ...
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Lonnie Wilson, the son of a toothless sharecropper, Zuba Wilson, returns to small southern hometown after spending six years on the chain-gang for killing Colonel Ben Marquand's son in an ... See full summary »
Arny joins a hot rod club, but his eccentric mannerisms (a Marlon Brando rip-off performance from "The Wild One" by look-alike Hartunian) make him unpopular. At a party, Terry rebukes him for his coarseness and centers her attention on another boy. A fight between the two men is stopped by Jim Lawrence, but Ray Johnson, pretending friendship with Arny, keeps the antagonism going and tries to win Terry for himself. Driving home, Hank and Terry are harassed by a hot rod which they think is driver by Arny. Swerving to avoid a collision, they are thrown from the car, and Hank is killed and Terry badly injured and unconscious. Ray, the actual driver of the hot rod, carries Terry to his car, but frightened by approaching vehicles, he returns her to the wreckage and flees. All, including Terry, blame Arny for the wreck, but there is no proof. Vindictive club members destroy Arny's car and beat him mercilessly. He rebuild his car for the big race. Terry goes to the race with Ray and, in his ...Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Story about youthful leather rebels who band together into a club called the "road devils". They race their hot rod autos around in various road races, impress the girls, chitchat in greasy diners, and otherwise act cool, in this juvenile delinquent film from the mid-fifties.
The protagonist is a guy named Arnie (Richard Hartunian). Plot follows mostly him and his drama, and involves a girlfriend, a "best friend", and an unfortunate death. It's a fairly straightforward plot that ends about the way you would expect. I did not detect any twists and turns, so to speak, or any real surprises. Mostly it's a character study of the rebel persona that existed during that time period.
Visual styles reflect the era ... guys with greasy, slicked-back hair and leather gear; gals were deferential and wore long skirts and ponytails. Most of the male actors looked too old to be credible juveniles.
Sound quality is not very good, but no worse than that of comparable low-budget films from that period. But the B&W cinematography is terrible, at least in the copy I watched. The visuals were so dark there were scenes when I could barely tell the outline of a human against a dark sky. The poor visuals interfered with my enjoyment of the film; my mind kept wandering away. The jazzy score was nice and fit right in with the rebel theme.
Surely a low-budget film that was never meant to be anything other than a grade-B flick, "Hot Rod Rumble" is still worthwhile viewing for its 1950s juvenile delinquent theme ... if the viewer can manage to somehow overcome the way too dark visuals, especially at and near the film's beginning.
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