Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 26th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1958
Director: Jack L. Copeland
Writer: Jack L. Copeland
Cast: Stephen McNally, Coleen Gray, Vic Morrow, Maurice Manson, Robert Foulk, Dan Sheridan, Will J. White, Robert Christopher, Charles J. Conrad, Ray Ferrell
BluRay released: July 14th, 2015
Approximate running times: 81 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: A rocket fuel plant is put on lock-down when Nash a disgruntled ex-employee threatens to blow up the plant. Fearing what might happen if he succeeds with his plan the foremen at the plant informs local law enforcement about what is going on. And from there law enforcement help evacuate those who live in the areas surrounding the plant. Undeterred by the actions the plant and local law enforcement have taken against his plot to blow up the plant, Nash concocts a new plan to help him achieve his goal. He kidnaps the plants foremen’s wife and son. Then things come to a head when he takes his hostages to the plant and makes his demands. Will they give him what he wants or will they be able to diffuse the situation?
Content wise, though there are many things in this film which give it a dated feel. It is ultimately the act of terrorism committed by Nash the disgruntled ex-employee which still resonates today as much if not more than it did when this film was made fifty seven years ago. Needless to say this film is a product of the time from which is was made. This film was one of many films from the 1950’s that featured themes about the fear of a potential rise of communism and the threat of thermonuclear annihilation.
The concise narrative keeps things moving along and to the point. With that being said, when it comes to characters there back-stories are put on the back burner. This even extends to Nash the disgruntled ex-employee and the lack of depth when it comes to his modus operandi. Fortunately this film is more about the situation than the actual characters which populate the story. And though there is a predictability to the events which unfold, this film saves its best moment for its unforgettable finale.
From a production stand point the film’s visuals are best described as workman like as they capture what is occurring, instead of ever trying to draw attention by being to flashy. Also once all of the main players are introduced things tend to move along briskly. And when it comes to performances they are best described as serviceable. With no single performance standing out more than any other. The cast features several recognizable faces like Stephen McNally (No Way Out) in the role of Mike Brand the foreman of the plant, Coleen Gray (Nightmare Alley, The Killing) in the role of Nancy the foreman’s wife and Vic Morrow (Blackboard Jungle) in the role of Nash the disgruntled ex-employee.
Hell’s Five Hours comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This is another strong transfer and well authored disc from Olive Films. Black and contrast levels look very good, details look generally crisp and there are no issues with DNR or compression. It should be pointed out that when the film uses stock footage that image clarity is not as strong as it for the majority of the transfer.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. There are no issues with distortion or background noise, everything sounds balanced and dialog always comes through clearly. Range wise things sound better than expected and when it comes to explosion or gun fire they sound appropriately robust.
This release comes with no extra content.
Overall Olive Films gives Hells Five Hours a strong audio / video presentation.
Note: Olive Films are also releasing this film on DVD.