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Monday, October 7, 2013

The Racers (1955)

A ruthless race car driver (Kirk Douglas) becomes involved with a French dancer (Bella Darvi, THE EGYPTIAN). But his arrogance and recklessness places a wedge in their relationship. In a film about racing, you'd better come up with some pretty exciting racing footage but although handsomely shot in CinemaScope and set in Italy and Monte Carlo, the racing sequences are marred by obvious rear projection shots. It doesn't throw you head first into the excitement and frenzy of international racing like John Frankenheimer's GRAND PRIX from 1966. Douglas is almost too perfectly cast as the hot headed, self centered racing champion but poor Darvi struggles with even the simplest dialog and she carries a lot of the film. Still, despite all the strikes against it, the veteran director Henry Hathaway punches it up with enough melodrama to keep your attention. The bustling score by Alex North helps a lot. The supporting cast includes Lee J. Cobb, Gilbert Roland, Katy Jurado, Cesar Romero, George Dolenz and John Hudson.

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