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Directed by Alex Cox
USA 1987


Written in three days and shot in three weeks, Alex Cox's (director of "Repo Man" and "Sid and Nancy" fame) film title, Straight to Hell, is more akin to the viewing experience than anything else. It sounds like it must have been a lark to shoot with culture icons like Joe Strummer (founding member of the Clash), Elvis Costello, Jim Jarmusch, Courtney Love as well as cameos by Dennis Hopper and Grace Jones... Ohh and don't forget the music by the Pogues. Filmed in Spain, the movie strives to be an avant garde spaghetti western with two rival gangs pitted against each other. Maybe I am too harsh - some may find it quite fun and Pulp Fiction may have borrowed quite liberally from this film for its core characterizations.


Theatrical Release: June 26th, 1987

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DVD Review: BFI (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL

DVD Box Cover


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Distribution BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:22:33 
Video 1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.17 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None (NOTE: optional English subtitles for commentary as well)

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary by director Alex Cox and writer Dick Rude
• Packaged with "Death and the Compass"

• Back to Hell (interview with cast and crew)
• 2-page liner notes with essay on both films 

DVD Release Date: October 31st, 2005

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 17





There are a few other DVD versions of this film in existence - in NTSC and PAL, but I own none of them and my unfounded suspicions are that this BFI is the best package to own - it contains a director commentary as well as another Cox film - "Death and the Compass" (also with Cox commentary - and see captures below). 'Straight to Hell' looks quite good - anamorphic 1.85 - progressive - bright colors - sharp but my only complaint might be that it looks a little heavy. The director commentary is teeming with interesting stuff as Cox  is always good to listen to. As well there are conveniently positioned optional subtitles on the main feature audio or you can alternately choose the subtitle option on the commentary dialogue (I love that feature and wish more DVD production companies would do it). I don't think Death and the Compass looks quite as good but I question how pristine the source print for this film is - the NTSC that I viewed looked equally as inferior in spots.

Fans of Cox are really treated as there is another double film BFI boxset with Three Businessmen / Highway Patrolman released the same day as this: listed HERE.  

Gary W. Tooze


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Subtitle Sample




Screen Captures














Death and the Compass captures...











DVD Box Cover


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Distribution BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL


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Gary Tooze

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