Blu-ray Review: THE HOT ROCK

THE HOT ROCK is based on the Donald Westlake novel of the same name. The movie was directed by Peter Yates from a screenplay by William Goldman and stars Robert Redford, George Segal, Ron Leibman, Paul Sand, Zero Mostel, Moses Gunn and William Redfield. The score is by Quincy Jones.

The Hot Rock (1972) is a clever caper film with multiple capers, but all focused on a single, elusive object: the Sahara Stone, long a hot potato between two African countries, now about to be snagged out of its spot at the Brooklyn Museum by a quartet of capable but luckless thieves. The extraordinary cast is led by Robert Redford, George Segal, Ron Leibman, and Paul Sand, supported by the dazzling likes of Moses Gunn and Zero Mostel. Adapted from one of Donald Westlake’s delightful John Dortmunder novels by the singular William Goldman, the film is directed with panache by the great Peter Yates, and features a sensational Quincy Jones score.

This 1972 caper comedy follows John Dortmunder (Robert Redford), a small time jewel thief who’s fresh out of prison only to get sucked back into the game by his brother-in-law Andrew Kelp (George Segal) who talks him into stealing a vaulable a diamond from the Brooklym Museum. They’re hired by Dr. Amusa (Moses Gunn), an ambassador from a small African nation that holds the diamond sacred and will do anything to get it back before a rival nation gets a chance to possess it. John and Andrew end up recruiting Alan Greenberg (Paul Sand) and Stan Murch (Ron Leibman) and the mission gets set in motion.

What happens is, the theives pull of the heist but thanks to a bumbling mishap by one of the men, the diamond ends up slipping away from them. This accidental event sets up a string of attempts to retrieve the elusive jewel that sends John and his team on a mission that breaks them back into a prison, then a police precinct and even a bank vault. Let’s just say all of this doesn’t set well with Dr. Amusa who ends up having second thoughts about hiring the unusual thieves. The mission full of misfires, mishaps and missteps (mixed with some betrayal) is what John and his friends go through during this diamond heist. It’s all worth it because in the end he finally comes up with a plan to get the diamond as well as execute some sweet revenge on the double crossers.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about The Hot Rock by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any serious issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The Hot Rock was another splended first time watch for me and it didn’t disappoint. To me, the movie is a mashup of Ocean’s 11 and The Pink Panther because of the crime element that’s mixed nicely with a bumbling sense of humor. We watch these small time crooks go about things in a quite unusual way and it’s enough to drive a person mad, but misfire after misfire, along with some betrayal, they finally get it right. What got my attention about this 1972 Twentieth-Century Fox feature in the first place was the standout cast assembled for it but it’s the execution of The Hot Rock that makes the movie such an entertaining caper dramedy. Well, it’s more comedy than drama, that’s for sure. The Hot Rock is now available on Blu-ray and has a Limited Edition run of 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 100 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and 1.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include an isolated music track, audio commentary and the original theatrical trailer.

  • Isolated Music Track
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historians Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo, and Nick Redman
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:57)

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