Synopsis by Richard Gilliam
Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life is an early example of a sports celebrity trying to use his fame in motion pictures. In the early silent era, when movies were untested and to some extent disreputable, actors often appeared uncredited. As screen performers began to emerge as box-office draws, Oldfield was among the first celebrity non-actors to appear in films designed to showcase him; and the action comedy shorts produced by Mack Sennett were a good venue for this racing star whose "bad boy" persona and frequent conflicts with authorities made him a natural choice for media attention. Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life combined Victorian rescue motifs with the modern technology battle of a car vs. a train. As in much of Sennett's work, the emphasis is on physical comedy and action stunts. Oldfield appeared in only a handful of other films; the first sports star to go to Hollywood and sustain a career in motion pictures would be University of Alabama football hero Johnny Mack Brown.
car, race [competition], train [locomotive]