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Image Entertainment presents
X-312 Flight to Hell (Flug zum Hölle) (1971)

"I think this is terribly exciting. There have to be snakes and crocodiles, just like in the movies."
- Mrs Wilson (Ewa Stromberg)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: October 02, 2003

Stars: Thomas Hunter, Gila Von Weithershausen, Hans Hass Jr., Fernando Sancho, Esperanza Roy, Siegfried Schürenberg
Other Stars: Ewa Stromberg, Howard Vernon, Paul M¨ller, Jess Franco
Director: Jess Franco

Manufacturer: Deluxe
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, violence, language)
Run Time: 01h:24m:23s
Release Date: August 12, 2003
UPC: 014381352320
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- C-B-C+ D-

DVD Review

Jess Franco would go on to do a multitude of women-in-prison and cannibal movies set in jungle surroundings, but in this film he tries out the jungle as a setting for a more straightforward caper movie. Although it has its moments, the limitations of the budget and the inanity of the script tend to pull the film under. However, since it has never before been released on home video in the US, the "Francophiles" will finally get a chance to see a proper presentation of this oddity.

Reporter Tom Nielsen tells a tale in flashback of how he came to be involved in a plane crash in the Amazon basin. A group of people with very different motivations were fleeing Chile for Rio de Janeiro aboard a charter flight on Utape Airlines. When they stop to pick up banker Alberto Ruprecht (Siegfried Schürenberg), who unbeknownst to them has embezzled millions of dollars in gems, things take an immediate turn for the worse, starting with a hijacking. The plane crashes in the jungles of the Amazon, and the survivors must face the beasts of the area, headhunters, and their most deadly threat, each other.

While Franco is plainly saddled with nearly a zero budget (the plane crash is handled by jiggling the camera; gunfights largely happen offscreen so as not to run up the cost of a squib), the settings are quite credible as substitutes for the jungle. Franco really has an eye for a convincing substitute that will work on film, and it's amply demonstrated here. The native headhunters do, however, tend to look a bit like pasty Germans.

The cast (most of them repeats from The Devil Came from Akasava) is nothing special. Hunter is a bland and uninteresting hero, which makes him fit in with the rest of the survivor crew. The exception is Fernando Sancho as Bill Gonzales, the homicidal steward from the plane. Obese and sweating, he's memorable and plainly a dangerous man. Howard Vernon, a Franco regular, has an oddball role as a bandolero chieftain. Esperanza Roy, one of the castaways, does frequently disrobe to provide the necessary Franco sex quota, and has a memorable lesbian entanglement with one of Howard Vernon's entourage. The end result isn't exactly terrible, but it's nothing to get excited about either.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The picture is in the original 1.66:1 ratio, though it is not anamorphically enhanced. There tends to be a fair amount of speckling on the source print, and on occasion there is serious frame damage at the reel changes. On occasion the picture jitters a bit and splices are evident as well. Color is a bit on the flickery side, though it does tend to be fairly strong, with the jungle greens in particular coming through well. Mild video artifacting is present throughout, especially noticeable on Franco's trademark zooms.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoGermanno


Audio Transfer Review: The sole audio track is a 2.0 German mono. Hiss and noise are minimal for the most part, but the music (composed in part by Bruno Nicolai) tends to be rather distorted sounding, with a scratchy character much of the time. Low bass is generally lacking, though the dialogue is clear enough. Passable for what it is.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are no extras, beyond removable English subtitles. Chaptering is acceptable.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

A tepid actioner with a dull cast, made on a shoestring, lacking the usual Jess Franco flair, and sporting an okay transfer of a somewhat iffy master. For completists only.

 


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