Warner Bros. // 1979 // 156 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Corupe (Retired) // March 8th, 2006
Rosco, get them Duke boys!
The Dukes of Hazzard was one of the most entertaining prime time hits of its day, a phenomenally popular mix of hillbilly comedy and action-filled mystery that drew viewers every week with a mix of leggy girls and even better looking cars. Though Warner Brothers has put Bo, Luke, and the General Lee onto the DVD seasons sets right out of the gate, the fact that the show continues to garner fans to this day has made it a great candidate for Warner's "Television Favorites" line, a relatively new imprint that offers a just handful of episodes of classic shows for a reasonable price.
The show took place somewhere deep in the heart of Georgia. Country cuzzins Luke (Tom Wopat, Story, Songs and Stars) and Bo Duke (John Schneider, Speed Zone!) live on a farm with their uncle, an ex-moonshiner named Jesse (Denver Pyle, The Great Race). On probation for rumrunning, Bo and Luke have decided to give up life on the wrong side of the still under Uncle Jesse's watchful eye. For all their efforts, though, those Duke Boys always seem to find themselves in a mess of hardship as they tear around town in their pride and joy, an orange 1969 Dodge Charger nicknamed "The General Lee." Hazzard's County Comissioner and leading industrialist, J.D. "Boss" Hogg (Sorrell Booke, Freaky Friday) holds a grudge against Jesse and his kin, and keeps the Dukes on a short leash through the local police department, run by Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best, Rolling Thunder). As the cousins inadvertently find themselves threatened with jail, they rely on cousin Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach, Cannonball Run II) and Hazzard mechanic Cooter Davenport (Ben Jones, Moonrunners) -- as well as the real star of the show, the General Lee -- to help them outfox the smokeys and bring the true lawbreakers to justice.
This DVD set serves up one episode from each of the show's first three seasons of hard drivin', ridge runnin', gulch leapin' action. Here's what you get:
* Double Sting
In this first season episode, a trio of bank robbers hoodwinks everyone by getting the police station quarantined -- with Boss Hogg, Rosco and the Duke boys inside. As a result, it's Daisy's chance to shine as she follows the robbers to the county outskirts to save Boss' precious money. Though the almost intolerable "comedian" Avery Schreiber co-stars as one of the robbers, this episode is still a shining example of the Dukes' first season -- a little rough around the edges, but entertaining, through and through.
* The Ghost of General Lee
It may play a bit too much like a Scooby-Doo episode, but the second season spookshow "The Ghost of General Lee " is another fan favorite, which has all of Hazzard thinking that Bo and Luke have drowned in the General Lee, a notion they use to their advantage by giving the General a phosphorescent paintjob and frightening Boss and Rosco into revealing their latest evil plan. Lots of fun abounds as the boys shuck and jive in one of their finest hours.
* And in This Corner, Luke Duke
Faced with the prospect of losing the farm to Boss Hogg, Luke is forced to don a pair of gloves to take on a dirty boxer named Catfish Lee. This season three episode focuses on an important series staple, Boss' sneaky schemes, with a humorous story that allows Sorrell Booke to chew the Deep South scenery for all he's worth.
What we have here is a fine compilation that shows off the show's strengths -- spectacular car crashes, the Dukes' penchant for mischief, and Daisy's skimpy wardrobe. As usual, the show's generous humor is supplied by Roscoe and Boss, who weave an entertaining tapestry of verbal abuse -- including a plethora of TV-safe insults, including "dipstick," "kumquat," and the ever popular "meadow muffin" -- in a game of one-upmanship for sheer campiness. It seems that Warner has actually taken some care in selecting these episodes, because all three are undeniable winners that take off with squealing tires and a distinct whiff of motor oil.
The episodes on Warner Brothers' The Dukes of Hazzard: Television Favorites were ported over directly from the season sets, so the quality is exactly the same -- the shows are a little grimy, a little worn, but with the bright colors that the series has always exhibited. Likewise, the audio is perfectly serviceable, with a lack of fidelity easily explained away by the mono source material. Still, dialogue always sounds perfect, music is well represented, and the glass-smashing, metal-crunching crack-up sound effects are just as lively as you remember them. While it's not perfect, you really can't complain too much about the transfer of this 25-year-old TV show.
The Dukes of Hazzard: Television Favorites certainly isn't a replacement for the widely available complete season sets of the show, but for those who don't want to make a strong commitment to the Duke boys, you can't go too wrong with this nicely-priced compilation that's perfect for more casual fans looking for just a taste of nostalgia. Yeehaw!
Review content copyright © 2006 Paul Corupe; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 156 Minutes
Release Year: 1979
MPAA Rating: Not Rated