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Olivia de Havilland
Famous motor-racing champion Joe Greer returns to his hometown to compete in a local race. He discovers his younger brother has aspirations to become a racing champion and during the race Joe loses his nerve when another driver his killed, leaving his brother to win. Joe's luck takes a plunge while his brother rises to height of fame. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Crowd Roars is probably the earliest sound feature film to be concerned with auto racing. It was probably a nice change of pace for James Cagney to get out on what was the NASCAR circuit of its day and not to be shooting people tied up with another mob.
In the one film he made with Cagney, Howard Hawks does a fine job in recreating the auto racing scene of its day. Several names from those ancient days of the sport appear in this film and give it a nice air of authenticity.
The problem with The Crowd Roars is that the story itself was very trite and ordinary. Younger brother Eric Linden wants to follow in Cagney's footsteps as a driver. Cagney's not crazy about his choice of female companionship in Joan Blondell. And Cagney's also reassessing his relationship with Ann Dvorak as well.
Cagney's life takes an abrupt downhill turn when best friend Frank McHugh is killed. It's not unlike what happens to him in such better known Cagney films as The Roaring Twenties and Come Fill the Cup. Only this is a bit more melodramatic.
I also wish there had been a bit more Guy Kibbee as Cagney and Linden's father to inject a note of levity in the proceedings.
Away from the racing sequences The Crowd Roars is a rather unexciting melodrama which needed improvement other than cinematography in every department. Auto racing would have to wait for a film like Grand Prix to capture the flavor of it fully. This ain't no Grand Prix.
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