User Reviews (12)

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  • Cute movie. I remember it from those days, when I was 11 and growing up in the US. Good family movie, safe for kids, and even has a bit of history in it to justify watching it, as this situation really happened in the US Cavalry (if not the actual people and events portrayed).

    Now for the bad news: As others have already noted, the picture and sound are worse than terrible. Looks like they got an old 16mm copy, a school projector, and a portable screen, and used a digital camcorder to record it while it played. Then they slapped it on a DVD and called it digital.

    Although the entire image is out of focus, the left side of the screen is even more so than the right. There is also some black banding that stutters down from the top of the frame periodically.

    And, judging from the sound quality, it appears that the sound was also recorded directly from the same projector, perhaps using a cheap electret condenser mic. Mounted on a piece of plywood. Or maybe stuck in a drawer.

    A company with this lousy of a work ethic should not be supported. Do not buy or rent this movie unless and until it gets a completely new version re-issued from the negatives. If we stop supporting these hacks, they will not be able to stay in business without increasing the quality of their titles. If you must see it, most larger metro US libraries will probably have it. The important thing is DON'T SPEND ANY MONEY ON THIS VERSION! Don't get me wrong; the movie itself is fine, and gets a 7 from me on its own. It's the terrible quality of the transfer that knocks it down to a 2.
  • 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.
  • I first saw this movie with my Mom and Dad and half the fun was watching them laugh at the movie. I would like to watch it again with my kids. Yes, the plot is silly, and the gags are somewhat slapstick, but it is just a fun movie to see on "family movie night". Don't worry about sex, violence, or language. Get the popcorn, kick back, and enjoy.
  • Like other reviewers of this film I, too, saw it in 1976 when it originally ran in the theater. One of my most prized possessions, which I have to this day and will NEVER give away, is a promotional "Camels are cush" promotional button that was given away to those who saw the film. The one line I always remembered was the "Give me a two by four and I'll beat it" line a camel soldier says early in the film. I have very fond memories of all of the Joe Camp films and regret that no one (and I'm including Disney!) makes those great family-oriented films anymore.

    Unfortunately I, too, have only a Best Video (talk about irony!) VHS copy of this film. I agree that the quality leaves something to be desired but, still and all, it's worth watching on occasion (say, after a hard day at work and you need to relax). I pray that Joe Camp will personally allow a DVD release from the original negative, as this film is what America needs in these hard times.
  • It would be difficult, I suggest, to say enough in praise of the genial and narrative positives of "HAWMPS". Its writers and director managed somehow to make the film engaging, easy to follow, ethical, and logical at the same time in my opinion, not always the expected qualities of a western "send up" . The writers, William Bickley, director Joe Camp and Michael Warren kept the dialog rather swift and on target, without engaging in too many long digressions, extraneous stories, etc. Director Camp also gave the film plenty of well-staged "slapstick" physical moments; but a study of these will reveals that virtually none were wasted--instead they all contributed to the fundamental storyline...The War Department's dispatching of James Hampton, about the only man who would accept the job, to assess the practicality of replacing horses in some jobs in the American West, with camels was. This attempt, which happened in history, is then staged for the audience step-by-hilarious-step. The veteran cavalry troop assigned to this experiment expected fine Arabian mounts; and their new Eastern leader, Hampton, couldn't bring himself to tell them that they were not getting new horses until it was too late. From this point in the story on, everything that happened, I suggest, revealed the Army's leaders' mental shortcomings. Hampton's seriousness about becoming the leader of men he really wanted to be and everyone else's inability to understand their own motives in regards to the camels complete the picture of the picture. The film's makers, I suggest, wasted almost no opportunity where they might reveal character and changing emotions by means of speech as well as action--no small asset to an action film. The cinematography by Don Reddy is always above average, and the original music by Euel Box sustains the moods evoked very well. Production designer Harlan Wright and Art Director Ned Parsons gave the film a dusty, western and believable look everywhere, in my judgment. In the cast, outstanding work was turned in by Jack Elam as Bad Jack Cutter, Slim Pickens as the leader of a rival cavalry troop, James Hampton and Chris Connelly as the leaders of the experiment, Denver Pyle as an artillery-happy commanding officer, Gino Conforti as the camels' imported caretaker and riding instructor, and everyone else concerned. One reason the characters are so memorable, I suggest, is that their motives are rendered so clear throughout the proceedings. I recommend the film for a number of scenes, including the original decision in Washington, the arrival of the camels, the first and second transits of a nearby town, the learning-to-ride sequence, the saloon fight refereed by veteran actor Herb Vigran, and the protracted contest that constitutes the final third of the film. I add my approval also to the way in which all details at the end are wrapped up logically, neatly and amusingly. This film is almost unique, I suggest, in its good-hearted approach to finding comedy in a realistic situation in the American West without demeaning the western genre. I found it to be unexpectedly likable, occasionally touching and enjoyable throughout. Recommended.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really enjoyed the movie as a kid, and was really looking forward to seeing this again. But why do they not bother to take the time to make decent transfers I'll never know. What a shame to ruin a perfectly good, fun movie. WARNING, POSSIBLE SPOILER!!! As a kid, I was fascinated to learn that they really DID have an experiment (upon which this film is VERY loosely based). They brought in camels with the idea that they would perform better than horses. What ever happened to these animals (once the experiment was concluded) ? Never found that one out. As was mentioned earlier, this film won't ever bee remembered as one of the "greats" of movie-making, but it was made in a time when clean wholesome films were the 'thing'. Something you could feel comfortable taking the whole family to. I was really excited to see it out (finally -after all the shovel-ware they make disks out of) on DVD -until the movie began. I really wish they would make decent transfers.
  • One of the funniest scenes is Bad Jack Cutter (Jack Elam) submitting his resume to Sergeant Tibbs. The premise of the movie is hilarious, and it's just very well done. it ain't Shakespeare, but it ain't supposed to be. Maybe I can relate to the movie because Lt. Clemmons' story is the story of my own life.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I described this movie to two older gentlemen I worked with, and when I told them the names of all the actors that were in it they were amazed and wondering why they hadn't ever seen it. You have James Hampton (F-Troop, The Longest Yard, Condorman, and many other shows), Christopher Connelly (Peyton Place), Slim Pickens (1941 + other various shows), Denver Pyle (The Waltons, Escape to Witch Mountain), Gene Conforti (Three's Company + other various shows), Jack Elam (Cannon Ball Run + other various shows - including a villain on F-Troop), and Herb Vigran - who you've seen in many shows as a very familiar face with an unknown name. This is a fantastic line-up of actors all doing a good job, with subtle and not-so-subtle humor abounding. (There is even a scene with Benji, Tiffany, and Frank Inn (Benji's trainer) in the bar fight.)

    Denver Pyle as Col. Seymour Hawkins: "What was that!?" James Hampton as Howard Clemmons: "That was a camel, sir!" Col. Hawkins: "No, the one with the - table cloth - on his head!? Howard Clemmons: "Oh, that was Hi-jolly, sir!"

    Fitzgerald (at the end of the movie): "Everyday I walk a mile for these camels" (A humorous play on words taken from an old advertising slogan for Camel cigarettes.)

    If you really want to just relax and have good laugh, you need to watch this - my son's (30 & 27) both like this one and it is so much fun!

    I own a decent copy on VHS that I bought through Avon years ago.
  • I love this movie. I know that it's not the greatest film ever made, but it's just so much fun. My older brother took me to see this when it came out in 1976. Ever since then, I've thought of this as "F Troop: The Movie." It even stars James Hampton, who was the bugler, Cpl. Dobbs, on "F Troop." It's a shame that Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch, and Ken Berry aren't in this film, but Christopher Connelly, Slim Pickens, Jack Elam, and Denver Pyle are always great...And when that band starts playing in the saloon, I laugh every time. This is of those movies like "The Apple Dumpling Gang" and (the original) "That Darn Cat" that entire families can watch together and get a good laugh.
  • I remember virtually nothing about this movie that I saw as a child in 76 or 77. But I thought I would share one of my funniest childhood memories that is associated with the film. I was living in Florida and my mother went up north to visit relatives for a week. My father undoubtedly thought that this would make a perfect time for some male bonding and decided to take me to a movie. I chose Hawmps and we came to a theatre that was packed ( I guess it had a solid opening weekend). We had arrived late (my father was perpetaully behind in time) and the movie was already playing. We walked down the rows and most were full, occasionally a row had a just one seat open, but never two. Finally my dad (who wore thick glasses and never could see too well in the dark) said "there's two seats", and pointed to the end of a row. As I made my way down I noticed that only one seat was vacant. I turned to my dad to try to explain but he said "keep going", so as a child I just figured my dad must know what he was doing, so I found a seat and sat down, noticing that beside me was a small boy, about 3 years old. Much to my shock my father proceeded to sit right on the kid! He let out a shreik that was audible throughout the theater and his father jumped up even faster than my embarassed dad did and asked him what he thought he was doing. My father quickly told me to remain in my seat and he'd meet me outside of the theater after the show. I laughed throughout the movie, but not at any of the gags--at the thought of my father nearly skwishing the kid next to me.
  • HAWPS was produced by the creator of Benji, and it contains the same family-oriented take on a not so familiar subject, In the Mid-1800s the US military considered the use of Camels to transport Calvary troops on the Western plains. The project was not a success, but this fun family western details some of the chaos that might have ensued ! James Hampton(F-Troop) does a fine job as the lead, and Jack Elam nearly steals the film as a cantankerous and black-hearted villain. Slim Pickens is also on hand as a rival Sergeant. Denver Pyle is the bewildered Fort Commander amazed by the entire fiasco that takes place.The Camels are a sight to behold also,

    A fun, lighthearted and pleasant western, with a number of genuine belly laughs! Enjoyed it !
  • FOLLOWING THE UNEXPECTED success of his BENJI (Mulberry Square, 1974), Writer/Director/Producer Joe Camp came up with another brainstorm. Why not take a true, albeit little known story about the U.S. Cavalry and turn into a true "G" rated, family picture? THE STORY TO which refer concerned an experiment that the U.S. Army tried with the use of camels as transportation of troops. This occurred circa 1850 in the Southwest (Arizona or New Mexico*). We hear that the tryouts for "the Ship of the Desert" failed; but we can't fault Uncle Sam for trying.

    WHEREAS CAMELS DIDN'T pass muster, their legacy has proved to be the perfect sort of fodder for Hollywood Producers; who are looking for something to put o the screen. After all, we've all seen Westerns featuring bank hold-ups, train robberies, cattle rusting, range wars, battles with hostile Indian tribes and so on.

    BUT WE DON'T know of any one of these Horse Operas that featured camel bronk-riders, camel rodeos, camel stage coaches or camel stampedes. (Catch on?)

    ALTHOUGH THE STORY is historical in origin and is proof of the old adage that: "Truth is stranger than fiction!"; the production team* decided to give it decidedly comic tone.

    IT REALLY DIFDN'T take much to move it into the camp of Family Comedy, or really Farce; as the opening premise seemed to be so incredible. All that had to be done was to assemble a cast, dress 'em up Cavalry style and go out to the Mojave and film it.

    ANDSWERING THE CALL to "humps" were a talented cast of mostly supporting people. James Hampton, a mostly TV actor (Hannibal Dobbs on F TROOP) headed up the list**. Following up Mr. Hampton's lead were: Christopher Connelly, Slim Pickens (from DR. STRANGELOVE), Denver Pyle (BONNIE & CLYDE), Gino Conforti, Mimi Maynard, and durable, versatile Herb Vigran. Even the trainer of "Benji" and the other four legged actors, Frank Inn, stepped before the cameras as Cavalry Camp Cook.

    THE STORY ON screen, such s it was, gave plenty of opportunities for hamming, obvious humor and family friendly goings on. The writers' embellishment on what is so little known about the real occurrences of the 1850's incident gave them plenty of leeway to steer the movie in any direction that they wanted. That led us to Matinees, Family Fare and of course a "G" Rating.

    HORRORS! TODAY THAT would be considered a Kiss of Death!

    NOTE * We cannot lose out without mentioning how kind Writer/Producer/Director, Mr. Joe Camp, was to us so may years ago. After we had seen it with our older girl, Jennifer age 3, we dropped him a note of appreciation. He replied with a letter on official MULBERRY SQUARE PRODUCTIONS Letterhead and enclosed a BENJI Movie Poster for little Jen. Whenever a now production was coming out, he'd send her another poster; as he did for HAWMPS!

    NOTE ** In all fairness, we aren't trying to relegate any of these fine thespians to a lower status. Remember, "There are no small parts, only small people!" In the case of Mr. Hampton, we remember him best for is role as prison inmate, "the Caretaker" in Burt Reynolds' starring vehicle, THE LONGEST YARD (Paramount, 1975).