Random Film of the Weekend: The Racers

(thanks, Jon Clark!)

The Racers MP Henry Hathaway’s 1955 potboiler The Racers isn’t exactly the best Kirk Douglas vehicle out there, but the actor gives it his usual all in this zippy yet easily forgotten melodrama that features some excellent real life races in gorgeous European locations race fans will approve of highly. Unfortunately, mixed in with these lovely tracks are some of the worst laughably out of place front, rear, and side screen projected driving scenes outside of a slapstick comedy. In fact, these projection sequences are so obvious that they give the otherwise slickly made movie more of an odd comic tone today than they probably did back in theaters in 1955. Then again, I can’t imagine anyone being fooled back then either.

Granted, it’s more than obvious that the otherwise wise filmmakers didn’t want Douglas whipping around in uncontrollable circles in an open cockpit roadster or flying off a track because of a stray poodle to crash through some hay bales and a stone fence (the first hilarious wreck in the film). On the other hand, given the character he plays is a bit of a jerk as he steps on a few toes on his way to the top of the auto racing heap, I guess a little less fake looking fakery may have made this more memorable a time killer… Continue reading