Hot Rod Rumble (1957) Poster

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Excellent rare JD flick
stevenfallonnyc9 May 2008
I love the JD genre, and Hot Rod Rumble is definitely at the top for me.

Big Arnie is a tough guy (but not a bully, he's a decent guy) who was dumped by his chick for being too rough around the edges. His car club "The Road Devils" don't like him, but they keep him because he's their best driver. (The team captain, however, has a soft spot for Arnie.) And Arnie pretty much has just one best friend, who keeps on screwing him over behind his back, including going after his chick, who merely calls him an "imitation" of Big Arnie.

After a fatal car accident is erroneously blamed on Arnie, the whole town is against him. His chick hates him, His car club hates him, his parents don't believe him, the cops are looking to bust him, he gets fired from his job...but he has to hold it all together in order to win that big check by winning the big car race.

The guy who plays Big Arnie definitely has the role down. The film has pretty much a zero budget but the cast go through their roles with enthusiasm. There are awesome cars everywhere and a "hip" soundtrack.

Hot Rod Rumble definitely deserves a DVD release, as it's a fun entry in the JD genre. It's little films like this in my opinion, and there are a lot of them, that are much more fun to watch than stuff like Rebel Without a Cause. Definitely seek this gem out.
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The Road Devils
Lechuguilla19 September 2017
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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With a Best Friend Like That--Who Needs Enemies?
Uriah435 December 2016
This movie begins with a young man named "Arnie Crawford" (Richard Hartunian) entering a local diner in search of his former girlfriend "Terri Warren" (Leigh Snowden). As it so happens, Arnie is a member of a hot rod club known as the "Red Devils" and several of his fellow club members frequent this particular establishment as well. However, he is not well liked by many of them because of his hot temper and this is the primary reason that Terri has decided to temporarily end their relationship. To that end, Terri is now dating another young man named "Hank Adams" (Larry Dolgin) and this has made Arnie extremely jealous. If that wasn't bad enough, Arnie's best friend, "Ray Johnson" (Wright King) is also in love with Terri but doesn't dare let Arnie know of it because he is scared of how he might react. Be that as it may, Arnie becomes outraged when he sees Terri and Hank dancing together and after a brief scuffle the owner throws Arnie out of the diner. Not long afterward, when Hank takes Terri home a high-speed chase from another vehicle results in the death of Hank and an injury to Terri. Naturally, everybody immediately blames Arnie even though he professes his innocence and there is no evidence tying him to the hit-and-run. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a pretty good "Hot Rod Movie" which managed to contain a good mix of drama and suspense from start to finish. On the minus side of the equation, the film was not only quite dated but the copy I saw also suffered from lighting issues as well. But all in all I enjoyed this movie and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.
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