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A cavalry outpost in the Wild West of 19th Century USA is in need of horses. The captain of the outpost gets word that they're to receive a shipment of fine Arabians. What he gets is a shipment of...camels. Written by
Loosely based on actual historical events. In the late 1850's, the U.S. Army experimented with the use of camels in the southwestern territories, the present states of Arizona and New Mexico. Hi Jolly (Hadji or Haci Ali, 1828 - 1902) was a Syrian camel expert and driver hired by the army to help with the experiment. Unfortunately, the project was deterred by the Civil War and never resumed afterward. Hi Jolly became something of a local legend, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen and living out his remaining days in Arizona. See more »
Hawmps is one of those films that exploits a little known morsel of history, and capitalizes on it a great deal.
Although designed as a "family" film the humor doesn't placate to children exclusively. It is a genuinely funny film, although the laughs are somewhat subtle (sometimes scaled down) in some of the gags. There aren't many large laughs in the movie (though there are a few), but there are a great deal of chuckles and smiles.
Anyone who lived through the 70's will recognize many a face in this film, giving the movie a bit of a TV movie feel. The film is scheduled to be on DVD in the fall of 2002 (Now, in fact), but has not been released as of this date.
April 28th, 2005 update; DVD Review
Well, I finally got a copy of the DVD from Goodtimes Entertainment, and I have to say that next to Platinum DVD's titles this is one of the worst DVD transfers I've ever seen.
Some history, in the early 90's I managed to find a copy of "Hawmps?" published by "Best Film & Video Corp." who put out a cheap EP VHS version that was barely watchable. I wrote a letter to Joe Camp Films to express my displeasure. The next thing I know Joe Camp is in litigation with the company that was marketing his films on VHS, and, some how, managed to get the rights back.
Fast forward again and I come across Joe Camp's "Benji" website. I call up their company, speak with one of his personal assistants, and am told that "Hawmps!" will be reissued on DVD, and that "they" (presumably the company and owners of the property) were, and I quote, "We're going back to the original negative..." Meaning a fresh, crystal clear, and remastered print of the film would be forever preserved via optical media.
Well, today I got a copy, and looking at the fuzzy picture, a large number of dirty frames (including some with editing marks on them), I can only assumed I was lied to, or, in some way, was misguided or otherwise misled. If not by Joe Camp films, then by proxy of Goodtimes DVD.
And it's a real shame too, because the film deserves better treatment. It's not the best film ever made, it's not the funniest, but it's got a certain charm and appeal that should've been better preserved. Years back, when Home Box Office aired this film, it was given a fresh color corrected print which they themselves processed before airing. It was a high quality, crystal-clear, print with sound to match. I only wish I had had sense enough to tape it when it aired all those years ago.
I'm not really sure who to blame for this fiasco, but I can no longer give my personal thumb of approval to this film, or its owners, until a better version (as was promised) hits the market.
In the meantime avoid this thing. Bad sound, bad visuals... I'll bet I could buy a bootleg off the street that's better than this crud.
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