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  1. #41
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    My feature on similar short-distance, short-wheelbase tippers in VINTAGE ROADSCENE went down well... and in the latest issue I featured various heavy tippers of varying vintages. I was very influenced by the film when I first saw it on TV.



    In the first set of photos one was of a shot taken in the late 1950s and had three women drivers! I have never seen any other reference to female Kew Dodge tipper drivers. And they did not look as though they were WW2 ATS veterans..so it's a mystery! I'll bet they looked after their charges better and drove them more carefully!

  2. #42
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    Not seen this classic for a while now.

    I hope it's around soon.

    Thanks for reminding me of it

  3. #43
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Sorry if I'm playing catch up.
    Not at all. I wonder if that was Alfie Bass' "real" accent.

  4. #44
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    There is about to be a small article on Tarmac tippers in VINTAGE ROADSCENE issue 119 out shortly, written by a former Tarmac Roadstone drive whose father was also a driver in the period covered by the film. The author drove for the company from around 1962-65 as an employee then went self-employed. The article arose out of a letter received from the author when he saw a photo that I had used on 6- and 8-wheeler tippers. This was a follow-up to my photo piece on 'Hell Drivers' in VRS issue 104.



    It is amazing that so many people have written in to the magazine saying that they have fond memories of the film, and how realistic it was. Take out the psychosis etc., it was a reaosnable documentary in its own right.

  5. #45
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    Firstly, I was struck by how much like an American film noir it was
    American reviews noted how *un-British-like* it was, but went on to warn that British films held a certain niche and if they chose to go up against the American style, they were doomed to fail....... and lose their market.



    McGoohan was by no means seen as 'over-the-top' in all the contemporary reviews I have read, but rather as menacingly and realistically violent. It is odd how perceptions seem to have changed nowadays. Nor do any of the reviews or comments find the speeding trucks at all anachronistic. I have wondered if the effects in a big public auditorium are different to what we sense now, on a TV screen in our living-rooms.



    I can recall watching it on TV, as a young kid/teen and being disappointed and appalled that 'John Drake' was a baddie........






  6. #46
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    This may have been discussed previously, before I joined but does anyone else think Patrick Mcgoohan's performance in Hell Drivers is abysmal? He is so over the top. I haven't seen it for years but watched it yesterday and thought he was awful. The only performance worse than his was the "speeded up lorries"

    I still enjoyed it though.


    He'd fallen out with the production co and did it to spite them.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    A terrific film, with a terrific cast but what exactly was the ballast they were carrying used for? Judging by McGoohan's 18 runs a day, and the number of runs claimed by the other drivers, there must be at least 100 runs being completed daily. At 10 tons a time, that's 1,000 tons of ballast being delivered daily to what looked like a housing estate being built. What was it - Milton Keynes??
    The ultimate use of all those rocks is never mentioned; hauling endless tons of cargo in a race none of them can ever really win, the drivers are embodiments of labor as a road to nowhere.



    I wish I'd said that...................

    Series Details



  8. #48
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    Good Lord !! Small children might see it!!




  9. #49
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    A fantastic movie

  10. #50
    Senior Member Country: UK Dadwasinflame's Avatar
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    Who is playing the Receptionist Very nice

  11. #51
    Senior Member Country: UK frame69's Avatar
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    That would be Peggy Cummins.

    Frame.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by frame69

    That would be Peggy Cummins.

    Frame.
    Peggy Cummings indeed. Dimmed in this movie, however Peggy is outstanding as the femme-fatale in Gun Crazy!







    promo Hell Drivers (1957)


  13. #53
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    Caught a few mins at lunch time, still worth a look but why they speeded up the trucks is beyond me

  14. #54
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    Well, the trucks moving at their actual speed would have been rather boring. I don't know what the usual top speed of a Kew Dodge is, but it wouldn't have been very high, particularly loaded down with ballast - 40 or 50 mph perhaps? The film makers had to imply that they were travelling at lunatic speeds, and this has usually involved under cranking the camera to make things look as though they are moving faster than they are in reality. Driving a lorry of that age (they weren't new even then) on public roads with minimal brakes would have been too dangerous.



    Nick

  15. #55
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Well, the trucks moving at their actual speed would have been rather boring. I don't know what the usual top speed of a Kew Dodge is, but it wouldn't have been very high, particularly loaded down with ballast - 40 or 50 mph perhaps? The film makers had to imply that they were travelling at lunatic speeds, and this has usually involved under cranking the camera to make things look as though they are moving faster than they are in reality. Driving a lorry of that age (they weren't new even then) on public roads with minimal brakes would have been too dangerous.



    Nick
    But they over did it. The speeds that they appear to be travelling at makes it totally unrealistic. It's obvious that it's just a camera trick. It's like cartoon violence, totally unnatural and not at all realistic.



    If they had under-cranked it less then the effect would have been more realistic and therefore more dramatic



    Steve

  16. #56
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    But they over did it. The speeds that they appear to be travelling at makes it totally unrealistic. It's obvious that it's just a camera trick. It's like cartoon violence, totally unnatural and not at all realistic.



    If they had under-cranked it less then the effect would have been more realistic and therefore more dramatic



    Steve
    Precisely

    ...and if they'd shot more coverage the editor might have been able to lend a hand by a fast cutting rhythm using detail shots (tyres spinning, POVs of passing hedges etc)

  17. #57
    Senior Member Country: England zettel45's Avatar
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    But they over did it. The speeds that they appear to be travelling at makes it totally unrealistic. It's obvious that it's just a camera trick. It's like cartoon violence, totally unnatural and not at all realistic.



    If they had under-cranked it less then the effect would have been more realistic and therefore more dramatic



    Steve
    True, but that effect was of its time - you just don't see it anymore. And it was usually used due to budget constraints as much as anything else. If you have enough time (and cameras) you can create exciting footage by clever use of angles, very carefully worked-out stunt driving, etc. But it's an expensive thing to do - certainly for the average 50s/60s Brit film-maker. Much quicker (and therefore cheaper) just to under-crank.



    I was amused the other day to see exactly the same technique used in a scene from cheesy 80s cop drama The Professionals. It looked every bit as fake and rubbish as anything in Hell Drivers.

  18. #58
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    I've seen this great movie more times than I should have. OK Patrick McGoohan does give a very 'vivid' performance but is nonetheless genuinely scary. Also the under-cranking now looks awful but it's of it's time and anyway my Dad drove a truck just like those - not filled with ballast though - so it's a nostalgic treat. Not sure whether anyone else has credited Herbert Lom cast, for once , in a 'good guy' role. Great scene where he blocks Red's truck and Red opens the cab door to reveal Gino reading the paper and gently swinging a huge spanner. Indeed a great cast altogether.

  19. #59
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    True, but that effect was of its time - you just don't see it anymore. And it was usually used due to budget constraints as much as anything else. If you have enough time (and cameras) you can create exciting footage by clever use of angles, very carefully worked-out stunt driving, etc. But it's an expensive thing to do - certainly for the average 50s/60s Brit film-maker. Much quicker (and therefore cheaper) just to under-crank.



    I was amused the other day to see exactly the same technique used in a scene from cheesy 80s cop drama The Professionals. It looked every bit as fake and rubbish as anything in Hell Drivers.
    Under-cranking is a good technique and can be very effective. It's been used since the earliest days of film. But in this one they took it to extremes and made it ridiculous. They could have done the same shots, still under-cranked, but at a bit closer to normal speed and then, as Alan suggests, with some good cutting and a few stock shots of rotating wheels and the like, they could have made it realistic and exciting. Instead they made it ludicrous.



    It's not just a matter of cost, it's the difference between good and bad film-making. I think that the shots of the lorries driving at speed in this film are just badly made



    You do see the good use of under-cranking in many films (although you might not notice it when it's done well). You certainly don't see it taken to this ridiculous extent in many other films - only in things like "London to Brighton in 5 Minutes"



    Steve

  20. #60
    Senior Member Country: England zettel45's Avatar
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    It's not just a matter of cost, it's the difference between good and bad film-making. I think that the shots of the lorries driving at speed in this film are just badly made
    It'd be interesting to ask the film-makers themselves why they did it that way, because I do agree it looks pretty naff these days.



    Was the original audience equally underwhelmed by those scenes? After all, today's groovy special effect is tomorrow's laughing-stock. (For years - years - the Radio Times would reprint a very old review of Fantastic Voyage saying how great the special effects were, even when they'd become shockingly dated. And look at those late 90s/early 00s CGI movies - they already seem pretty ropey.)

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