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High Gear (1933)

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When Mark 'High Gear' Sherrod (Murray) looses his nerve, the race car driver takes a job driving a taxi, but when he befriends a cute reporter and the young handicapped son of a deceased driver, he attempts to return to the track.



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Complete credited cast:
Mark 'High Gear' Sherrod
Anne Merritt
Jackie Searl ...
Jimmy Evans
Eddie Lambert ...
Jake Cohen, Janitor
Ann Brody ...
Theodore von Eltz ...
Larry 'Keyhole' Winston
Mike Donlin ...
Ed Evans
Howard - Mechanic
John Sinclair ...
Winifred Drew ...
Mrs. Wolloughby
Douglas Haig ...


When Mark 'High Gear' Sherrod (Murray) looses his nerve, the race car driver takes a job driving a taxi, but when he befriends a cute reporter and the young handicapped son of a deceased driver, he attempts to return to the track.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

driver | reporter | See All (2) »


Action | Adventure





Release Date:

22 March 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sta ftera tou thanatou  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Fit for a Race
15 August 2009 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

HIGH GEAR (Goldsmith Productions, 1933), directed by Leigh Jason, is a minor 67 minute programmer that merit's some consideration for being one of the very few films of the sound era where actor James Murray plays a prominent part. The name James Murray may be of little or no importance to anyone who's never seen him in the role he's most identified, THE CROWD (MGM, 1928), a silent drama directed by King Vidor. Although he appeared opposite such notables as Lon Chaney (THE BIG CITY, THUNDER) and Joan Crawford (ROSE MARIE) during his 1928-29 MGM period, Murray's career, which showed great promise in THE CROWD, drifted to obscurity, turning up in minor roles with or without screen credit, with occasional leads in poverty row features such as the one called HIGH GEAR.

The plot revolves around Mark "High Gear" Sherrod (James Murray), whose career has reached its peak after five years as a race car driver. His popularity lands him an exclusive interview with Anne Merritt (Joan Marsh), a newspaper gal or "sob sister" for the Morning Eagle, with whom he becomes interested. During the big race, Mark's car, The Red Lion Special, meets with a serious accident, causing the death of Eddie Evans (Mike Donlan), his mechanic co-driver and best friend. Taking the responsibility in raising Eddie's young son, Jimmy (Jackie Searle), Mark keeps his friend's promise by raising the boy and enlisting him in military school. Unable to resume his profession, Mark, who has lost his nerve, gives up racing, earning his living driving cabs in order to help pay for Jimmy's tuition. Mark's new profession is exposed on radio after being spotted by Larry Winston (Theodore Von Eltz), a columnist and Mark's rival for Anne. To escape embarrassment from his fellow classmates, Jimmy leaves the academy to be with Mark, only to get himself caught in the middle of a taxi war between Mark and rival cabbies, leaving Jimmy with a fractured skull caused by a thrown wrench, and further complications for Mark.

Somewhat inspired by James Cagney's racing drama, THE CROWD ROARS (Warners, 1932), where character reaches the downward path after the accidental death of his pal during a car race, HIGH GEAR indicates that while this James is no Cagney nor the film itself can't compare to the fast-pace action most associated with Warner Brothers, it starts off promisingly with its opening titles imposed over the live action of Jackie Searle holding stop watch as James Murray and Mike Donlin are seen driving the race car around the track, then shifts gears after an exciting race sequence over to the military academy, taxi stands and uninspired sentiment. HIGH GEAR does offer amusements, however, including one where news-gal (Marsh) makes way into man's (Murray) hotel room to get an interview, even when he's taking a shower. There's also comedy relief provided ethnic types, Mr. and Mrs. Cohen (Eddie Lambert and Ann Brody), the friendly landlords to the central characters. Though their Yiddish dialects and stereotypical manners were quite typical of the day, their performances sometimes get in the way of the story.

Joan Marsh, a young blonde with a physical appearance of a then youthful Barbara Pepper or Mary Carlisle, is satisfactory as the news gal while Jackie Searle appears against type in a sympathetic role, though more natural playing a whining brat for which he is famous. James Murray on the other hand indicates what might have been had better roles been in his favor. Tragically, Murray, who was found dead through mysterious circumstances in 1936, never leaving any kind of legacy as James Dean or others who died at a young age.

Seldom televised, HIGH GEAR did play part as a 45 minute featurette in the 90 minute PBS showing of "Matinee at the Bijou" of the 1980s preceded by newsreel, chapter serial, coming attraction and short subject. Although HIGH GEAR will never win any trophy cups for coming in first as screen entertainment, it's availability on home video and later DVD is a great opportunity in seeing and hearing the actor whose accomplishment made THE CROWD a classic it's become today. (*1/2)

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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