Hot Rods to Hell


1h 32m 1967
Hot Rods to Hell

Brief Synopsis

A family traveling through the desert is set up by a teen gang.

Photos & Videos

Hot Rods to Hell - Publicity Stills
Hot Rods to Hell - Movie Poster
Hot Rods to Hell - Uncropped Scene Stills

Film Details

Also Known As
52 Miles to Terror
Genre
Drama
Crime
Release Date
Jan 1967
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: ca1 Feb 1967
Production Company
Four Leaf Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Fifty-Two Miles to Terror" by Alex Gaby in The Saturday Evening Post (14 Jan 1956).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Synopsis

Because a serious automobile accident has left him with a back injury, Tom Phillips is advised by his doctor to move to a warm climate. After buying a combination motel-restaurant in the California desert, he sets out for his new home with his wife, Peg, his daughter, Tina, and his small son, Jamie. Since Tom has not yet regained his confidence behind a wheel, Peg drives the family car. As they near their destination, they are passed by three thrill-seeking teenagers--Duke, Ernie and Gloria--who toss a beer can into the Phillips' sedan. Sometime later, Tom encounters one of the boys at a filling station and threatens him with police action. As a result, the young toughs alert their friends and a number of youths soon converge on the Phillips for the remainder of their trip. Once they have reached their destination, they learn that the former owner of the motel allowed the place to be used for teenage drinking orgies. After Duke has tried to seduce Tina, Tom calls off the motel deal and heads for his brother's home, 52 miles away. They are pursued by Duke and Ernie, who are determined to prevent Tom from contacting the police. But the constant hounding eventually proves too much for Tom, and he decides to hold his ground. He parks his car, leaves the headlights on, and causes Duke's souped-up sports car to crash. Suppressing the urge to kill the two hoodlums, Tom offers them the choice of being turned over to the authorities or changing their ways. When a police car pulls up, Duke and Ernie promise to behave like sensible adults in the future. And Tom--his self-confidence restored--goes back to the motel to give his business venture another try.

Photo Collections

Hot Rods to Hell - Publicity Stills
Here are several Publicity Stills from Hot Rods to Hell (1967). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Hot Rods to Hell - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Hot Rods to Hell (1967), starring Dana Andrews. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Hot Rods to Hell - Uncropped Scene Stills
Here are a few stills taken of driving scenes in MGM's Hot Rods to Hell (1967), starring Dana Andrews. Since the stills are uncropped, they reveal the type of cutaway vehicles and rear projection screens often used to film such scenes.
Hot Rods to Hells - Advertising Art
Here in black-and-white are several pieces of art (both line art and retouched photos) used to publicize Hot Rods to Hell (1967), starring Dana Andrews.

Film Details

Also Known As
52 Miles to Terror
Genre
Drama
Crime
Release Date
Jan 1967
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: ca1 Feb 1967
Production Company
Four Leaf Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Fifty-Two Miles to Terror" by Alex Gaby in The Saturday Evening Post (14 Jan 1956).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Articles

Hot Rods to Hell


Too bad easy chairs don't come with seat belts. You might need 'em for Hot Rods to Hell (1967). This is no sensitive exploration of delicate feelings, no neo-realist examination of the human condition. Nope, this one's just like the ads claimed: "They're souped up for thrills and there's no limit to what they'll do!"

The film introduces us to Mr. and Mrs. Phillips and their two children, a nice family in a nice car moving to a nice motel they bought in the nice California desert. Why? Well, Papa Phillips damaged his back in a car wreck and now needs to live in a warm, sunny environment. However they cross paths with hellion Gloria and her two decidedly not nice boyfriends who have nothing better to do than make life rough for the Phillips family. Arriving at their recently purchased motel, the Phillips discover that instead of having solved their problems, things only get worse.

The source of Hot Rods To Hell was a 1956 Saturday Evening Post story. It was originally conceived as a TV movie but Hot Rods to Hell turned out to be too rough for that era's television so instead it went out to drive-in theatres across the country. John Brahm, a respected studio director of the forties (The Lodger, 1944), helmed this youth flick, though at this time he was better known for his television work. And as a concession to the older generation, the Phillips family was ingeniously cast with familiar faces from Hollywood's past: Dana Andrews of While the City Sleeps (1956) and Daisy Kenyon (1947) as well as Jeanne Crain of Cheaper By the Dozen (1950). These two had earlier co-starred in three films together, most notably 1945's State Fair.

The other actors weren't as well-known at the time. Gloria was played by Mimsy Farmer, perhaps the definition of a cult actress. After a few other B-movies like 1966's Riot on Sunset Strip (which has three other Hot Rods actors), Farmer headed for Europe where she appeared in Dario Argento's Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), the Taviani Brothers' Allonsanfan (1973) and Marco Ferreri's Bye Bye Monkey (1977). In one scene of Hot Rods to Hell are background performances by Mickey Rooney Jr.'s group, described by musician Marshall Crenshaw as a "sort of poor man's Bobby Fuller Four." (Rumor has it that somewhere in the bar scene you can spot Liz Renay, a sometimes soap actress who went on to Blackenstein (1973) and John Waters' Desperate Living, 1977)

Hot Rods to Hell was the work of genius exploitation producer Sam Katzman, who had worked on b-movies and serials since the mid-30s. He hit an unsuspected goldmine with the youth market of the 1950s, producing dozens of titles like Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), Don't Knock the Rock (1956), Twist Around the Clock (1961), Get Yourself a College Girl (1964) and other prime fodder for youth after thrills, chills and excitement. One film historian claims that no Katzman film ever lost money, completely plausible considering their low cost and built-in audiences. But it certainly helped that Katzman delivered the promised goods since, as Hot Rods to Hell shows, these films weren't shoddy, tossed-together gyps but instead were quite entertaining on their own terms.

Producer: Sam Katzman
Director: John Brahm, James Curtis Havens
Screenplay: Alex Gaby (story), Robert E. Kent
Cinematography: Lloyd Ahern
Film Editing: Ben Lewis
Original Music: Fred Karger, Ben Weisman (songs)
Cast: Dana Andrews (Tom Phillips), Jeanne Crain (Peg Phillips), Mimsy Farmer (Gloria), Laurie Mock (Tina Phillips), Paul Bertoya (Duke), Gene Kirkwood (Ernie).
C-100m.

by Lang Thompson

Hot Rods To Hell

Hot Rods to Hell

Too bad easy chairs don't come with seat belts. You might need 'em for Hot Rods to Hell (1967). This is no sensitive exploration of delicate feelings, no neo-realist examination of the human condition. Nope, this one's just like the ads claimed: "They're souped up for thrills and there's no limit to what they'll do!" The film introduces us to Mr. and Mrs. Phillips and their two children, a nice family in a nice car moving to a nice motel they bought in the nice California desert. Why? Well, Papa Phillips damaged his back in a car wreck and now needs to live in a warm, sunny environment. However they cross paths with hellion Gloria and her two decidedly not nice boyfriends who have nothing better to do than make life rough for the Phillips family. Arriving at their recently purchased motel, the Phillips discover that instead of having solved their problems, things only get worse. The source of Hot Rods To Hell was a 1956 Saturday Evening Post story. It was originally conceived as a TV movie but Hot Rods to Hell turned out to be too rough for that era's television so instead it went out to drive-in theatres across the country. John Brahm, a respected studio director of the forties (The Lodger, 1944), helmed this youth flick, though at this time he was better known for his television work. And as a concession to the older generation, the Phillips family was ingeniously cast with familiar faces from Hollywood's past: Dana Andrews of While the City Sleeps (1956) and Daisy Kenyon (1947) as well as Jeanne Crain of Cheaper By the Dozen (1950). These two had earlier co-starred in three films together, most notably 1945's State Fair. The other actors weren't as well-known at the time. Gloria was played by Mimsy Farmer, perhaps the definition of a cult actress. After a few other B-movies like 1966's Riot on Sunset Strip (which has three other Hot Rods actors), Farmer headed for Europe where she appeared in Dario Argento's Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), the Taviani Brothers' Allonsanfan (1973) and Marco Ferreri's Bye Bye Monkey (1977). In one scene of Hot Rods to Hell are background performances by Mickey Rooney Jr.'s group, described by musician Marshall Crenshaw as a "sort of poor man's Bobby Fuller Four." (Rumor has it that somewhere in the bar scene you can spot Liz Renay, a sometimes soap actress who went on to Blackenstein (1973) and John Waters' Desperate Living, 1977) Hot Rods to Hell was the work of genius exploitation producer Sam Katzman, who had worked on b-movies and serials since the mid-30s. He hit an unsuspected goldmine with the youth market of the 1950s, producing dozens of titles like Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), Don't Knock the Rock (1956), Twist Around the Clock (1961), Get Yourself a College Girl (1964) and other prime fodder for youth after thrills, chills and excitement. One film historian claims that no Katzman film ever lost money, completely plausible considering their low cost and built-in audiences. But it certainly helped that Katzman delivered the promised goods since, as Hot Rods to Hell shows, these films weren't shoddy, tossed-together gyps but instead were quite entertaining on their own terms. Producer: Sam Katzman Director: John Brahm, James Curtis Havens Screenplay: Alex Gaby (story), Robert E. Kent Cinematography: Lloyd Ahern Film Editing: Ben Lewis Original Music: Fred Karger, Ben Weisman (songs) Cast: Dana Andrews (Tom Phillips), Jeanne Crain (Peg Phillips), Mimsy Farmer (Gloria), Laurie Mock (Tina Phillips), Paul Bertoya (Duke), Gene Kirkwood (Ernie). C-100m. by Lang Thompson

Quotes

Trivia

Originally released as a TV movie, later as a feature in theaters and drive-ins.

Notes

Copyright length: 100 min. Location scenes filmed in Los Angeles. Formerly titled 52 Miles to Terror, the film was originally intended to be a feature film for ABC-TV.