The Dukes of Hazzard

May 26, 2005posterwirePosters5
The Dukes of Hazzard movie poster

The Dukes of Hazzard movie poster

Curbing General Lee

Warner Bros. has released the The Dukes of Hazzard movie poster for the new film. All of your favorites are here: Bo, Luke, Daisy, Uncle Jesse, Boss Hogg, and most importantly, the General Lee. But is The Dukes of Hazzard one-sheet missing some other aspect of the Dukes visual lexicon?

When discussing the original Dukes of Hazzard hit TV series (which ran from 1979-1985), many people think of two things: Daisy Duke shorts and a reddish orange 1969 Dodge Charger marked “01” with a very large Confederate flag painted on the roof. And while Jessica Simpson seems to be filling in the “Daisy Dukes”, the familiar Southern flag seems to be missing in action — no where to be seen on the film’s poster or the movie’s official site. Is the studio going out of their way not to display the “rebel flag” on the roof of the General Lee car? Is what was once used to decorate toys now a symbol of history or hatred?

From the December 24, 2004 Wall Street Journal:

Despite the car’s enduring popularity, Warner Bros. executives were concerned about it — or more specifically, about the giant Confederate flag painted on the roof of the Dukes’ Dodge, a person involved with the film’s production said. Some studio executives were afraid that a lot of potential viewers would see it as nostalgia for the old segregationist South.

The filmmakers fretted they’d lose the show’s spirit and anger old fans by ditching the flag and the car’s name (or the horn, which honks “Dixie”). So they struck a compromise with the studio: Show the flag, but include scenes where it’s derided as an inappropriate symbol of the dark past, the person involved in the film said.

Setting aside the civics argument about the Confederate flag, it’s interesting how what was once considered a visual asset in selling a TV show 20 years ago is now suddenly a liability.

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  1. dukes of childhoodMay 27, 2005 at 5:50 AMReply

    When I was a kid I loved the Dukes of Hazard. I distinctly remember drawing the flag in lots of childhood doodles. I didn’t know at that time what it really was or what the horn song was. In any case, I live in the south and never support the displaying of the Conferederate flag because I do believe it is a symbol of a very negative way of life. I’ve been wondering if they would even have the flag on the car in the movie. It does seem like it wouldn’t be the same without it and the horn, but I think they could have made major points by changing the flag to the stars and strips and selecting a few notes from the national anthem for the horn.

  2. adminMay 27, 2005 at 10:11 AMReply

    Well, I do think the studio was in a lose-lose situtation with regards to the rebel flag. It remains to be seen if the film will be successful in “deriding” it’s usage, as was mentioned in the script. But as far as advertising goes, it will continue to be unseen, I’m sure.

  3. RavenMay 28, 2005 at 11:03 PMReply

    Interesting. I’ve got a matchbox-type car I found of the General Lee somewhere around here. I loved the show as a kid (or at least the car).
    Politics meets Design in Moviedom…and beats design with it’s money-laden fist. Not a new tale.

  4. johnFebruary 5, 2007 at 3:31 PMReply

    i remember when i was a lid i could not wait till 9pm on a friday night too watch the show now me kids still love the show and my oldest would almost dye too see the show its funny world ..

  5. aaronDecember 20, 2009 at 5:25 PMReply

    Looks like I am two years late to this blog.
    I have several direct ancestors who served as confederate soldiers. They were as poor as anyone during that period. They joined the southern army because it was the “thing to do.” I couldn’t care less about flying a confederate flag from my front porch or engaging in argument about it, and I don’t care about the people who are offended by it either. It was what it was. A lot has happened since then (1860s) including WWI and WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Kuwait, etc. Our ancestors helped out during WWII because it was the “thing to do” at the time, just like Southerners helped out for the same reason during their war. The whole war was mainly an issue of State’s rights vs. Federal Rights, and slavery was the most prominent example of the different issues involved.

    I don’t care if they put a “rebel flag” on the “General Lee” or not, and many others would probably agree.

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