The Racers (1955)

Henry Hathaway is usually known for directing westerns, but here he is making a film all about car racing in Europe, based on the book The Racer, which was the story of Rudolf Caracciola, who is called Gino Borgesa here and played by Kirk Douglas.

He meets his girl in the way so many have before, as her poodle runs on the track and nearly gets him killed. But hey, when a woman is Bella Darvi, well, you forgive these kinds of things. Darvi spent some of her teen years in a concentration camp before meeting Virginia and Darryl Zanuck, who invited her to move to Hollywood with them. Despite the fact that she slept in the same room as their daughter Susan, and getting a stage name that combined the two Zanuck’s names, she of course became his mistress. I have this theory that perhaps that the affair involved all three, particularly when after Mr. Zanuck left his wife for Darvi, but he would later leave the actresses when he found out that she was bisexual. After 1961, Darvi was mainly back in Monte Carlo, gambling around 30,000 pounds a night (which when we adjust for pounds to dollars and inflation is more than $250,000!) and continually overdosing on barbiturates, which never quite killed her, until she used gas to finally exit this world in 1971.

Anyways, back to the racing. Gino gets out of control after all his injuries get him on painkillers, even clouding him enough that he costs one of his mentors, Carlos Chavez (Ceasar Romero), his last race. He chases away his woman to a younger racer and pretty much ruins his life.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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