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Dirty O'Neil

Code Red // R // March 22, 2022
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted April 18, 2022 | E-mail the Author

The Movie:


Dirty O'Neil, directed by Leon Capetanos and Lewis Teague in 1974, tells the story of Jimmy O'Neil (Morgan Paull), a young cop who works in the small California town of Newhall. It's a quaint, sleepy little town without much in the way of crime, leaving Jimmy without a whole lot of work to do. As such, he kills time by picking the different ladies that happen to come across his path. Jimmy isn't above using his status as a cop to coerce women into sleeping with him, and it doesn't matter to him if his sexual conquests are married or not, as at one point he sleeps with his boss' wife.


Jimmy's partner is Lassiter (Art Metrano), and he's a bit older than Jimmy. Lassiter wants to get out of Newhall, he's bored and looking to move to a city where he might actually have something to do with his career. Things change for the two cops when a trio of dangerous criminals descend on Newhall and start to cause problems for its populace.


A weirdly sleazy blend of sexploitation and cop action clich├ęs, Dirty O'Neil, is in entertaining slice of vintage drive-in fare that offers up some decent cops versus crooks set pieces and a lot of nudity. The script from co-director Leon Capetanos is uneven and doesn't offer nearly as much character development as it should for our two main cops, and it veers from light, comedic moments into darker territory (the film does contain a pretty strong rape scene) more than a few times. Tonally, the film is all over the place, but as cheap, trashy exploitation fare it works well enough thanks to the healthy dollops of sex and violence that the film offers up.


Capetanos and Teague pace the film well. It moves quickly and hits the right notes at the right times. The location photography is pretty solid, the cinematography not especially flashy but certainly more than competent and at times quite good. The score, which comes courtesy of Raoul Kraushaar who scored classics like Sixpack Annie, Billy The Kid Versus Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, doesn't reinvent the wheel but it accentuates the action and the sex and the moments of weird comedy that crop up from time to time. Production values are, overall, just fine, if never all that remarkable.


As far as the case is concerned, Morgan Paull, who had a small part in Blade Runner, does a pretty decent job as the lead. He's good looking enough that we can understand how he'd be able to easily bed members of the fairer sex as often as he does. He plays the part with relish and seems to be having fun with it. When the script gets darker in its second half and his character has to work towards redeeming himself, his performance becomes more serious and he handles the more dramatic elements without any trouble. Art Metrano, who did a lot of TV work like Joanie Loves Chachi and also played Mauser in the first two Police Acadamey sequels, is also pretty decent here, his character the more serious of the two when the movie starts. Supporting work from a collection of noteworthy seventies B-movie starlets like Pat Anderson, Jeane Manson, Katie Saylor, Kitty Carl, Anitra Ford and Kate Murtaugh , most of whom play one of O'Neil's sexual conquests, is also worth pointing out.


The Video:


Dirty O'Neil arrives on region free Blu-ray from Code Red in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and taking up 22.1GBs of space on the 25GB disc. Taken from a brand new 2k master, the picture quality here is pretty solid. There is a bit of minor print damage and visible here and there but detail looks quite good. There's nice depth to the picture and no problems with any noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression problems. Skin tones look good and colors are reproduced nicely as well. Not reference quality, but quite good.


The Audio:


The only audio option on the disc is an English language 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track. Optional English subtitles are provided. There's a bit of sibilance in a few spots but otherwise the audio sounds pretty good. It's properly balanced with a decent bit of range to it.


The Extras:


The only extra on the disc is a trailer for the feature.


Overall:

Dirty O'Neil is, tonally, all over the place and it really should have had more character development but it offers up the type of sleaze and exploitation you'd want from a B-movie like this. Code Red's Blu-ray release is very light on extras but it looks and sounds pretty solid and the movie, despite its flaws, does entertain. Recommended for fans of seventies exploitation pictures.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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