The Racers (1955)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Sports Drama  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

As the first major Hollywood picture to deal with the world of professional sports car racing, The Racers has a bit of historical fascination; it certainly s more noteworthy for its history than for its drama. Racers is one of those action films that emphasizes the action to the almost total exclusion of story and character. That's not to say that there isn't considerable screen time devoted to the plot and the people; but clearly the filmmakers are using them only as filler in between race scenes and as set-ups to increase the tension and excitement of the cars speeding across the screen. Without the action sequences, Racers would be almost alarmingly banal and a total bore, to boot. However, with those racing sequences, the film manages to redeem itself and end up on the whole as a moderately enjoyable film, one with dreadful lows but very exciting highs. Director Henry Hathaway pushes all the buttons when the cars on screen, aided by cinematographer Joe MacDonald. Together, they make the pulses pound and the adrenalin flow as long as something with four wheels is around. Off the race track, Kirk Douglas does the best he can, turning in a more than decent if less than great performance. As his love interest, Bella Darvi is beautiful but painfully deficient as an actor. Lee J. Cobb does well, and Katy Jurado is passable.