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Indianapolis Speedway (1939)

Approved  |   |  Action, Drama, Romance  |  5 August 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 138 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

Joe is the three time Indy champion who still races to put young Eddie through College. Joe wants a better life for Eddie, and he explodes when he finds out that Eddie quit school for a ... See full summary »



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Title: Indianapolis Speedway (1939)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
'Frankie' Merrick
Eddie Greer
Gale Page ...
Lee Mason
'Spud' Connors
Grace Stafford ...
Martha Connors
Granville Bates ...
Mr. Greer
John Ridgely ...
Ted Horn
Dick Wilbur
John Harron ...
Red, Eddie's Pitman
William B. Davidson ...
Duncan Martin (as William Davidson)
Edward McWade ...
Tom Dugan, the Counterman (as Ed McWade)
Irving Bacon ...
Fred Haskill
Tommy Bupp ...
Haskill's Son
Robert Middlemass ...
Edward Hart


Joe is the three time Indy champion who still races to put young Eddie through College. Joe wants a better life for Eddie, and he explodes when he finds out that Eddie quit school for a racing career. Joe tries to teach Eddie the trade, but they separate when Eddie will not drop bad girl Frankie. When Joe causes the death of a driver at the next race, he quits racing and wanders around. Joe winds up at Indianapolis where Eddie is driving the Martin Special. Written by Tony Fontana <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


IS THE GLORY OF VICTORY WORTH THE PRICE! (original ad - all caps, with original punctuation) See more »


Action | Drama | Romance | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Roaring Road  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Regis Toomey played the same character in the 1932 film The Crowd Roars (1932) of which this is a remake. See more »


In the closing scene, the ambulances taking Payne and O'Brien are racing to the hospital, trying to beat the other. In the distance is a large body of water, most likely the Pacific Ocean, on which the actors are superimposed. Indianapolis is actually landlocked. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits all done using "windswept" graphics, indicating speed. See more »


Remake of The Crowd Roars (1932) See more »


Heaven Can Wait
Music by Jimmy Van Heusen
Played by the band at the nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

All the racing footage in this remake was lifted from The Crowd Roars (1932).
25 February 1999 | by (Pine Grove, California) – See all my reviews

In this remake of The Crowd Roars (1932), John Payne was more believable than Eric Linden was in the original, as the kid brother who wants to be a racing driver, but I'll take James Cagney over Pat O'Brien in the lead for this type of role. I also enjoyed the original female stars, Joan Blondell and Ann Dvorak, more than Ann Sheridan and Gale Page in this film. Still, both films were comparable in enjoyment for me. This film is almost a scene by scene remake, including the cute ending where each injured racing driver instructs his ambulance driver how to beat the other to the hospital. They still have racing in their blood even when it's spilled.

I watched both films on successive days, so each was fresh in my mind. It was a shock to see how much footage from the earlier version was put in the later version. I'm sure it saved Warner Bros. lots of money and were it not for video tape recorders, nobody would notice. (I was also able to play both films simultaneously on two separate VCRs, stopping one when the other was playing, in order to quickly compare any two scenes.)

The studio got away with using the old footage by several ways. First, the new screenplay used the same names (Joe Greer and Eddie Greer) for the brothers. This allowed the footage of the four announcers (Wendell Niles, Sam Hayes, John Conte and Reid Kilpatrick) for the three racing sequences of the first film to be incorporated in toto in the later film. They are extensive sequences involving hundreds of words and many images, but I am sure none of the four got a paycheck for this film, although some outtakes from the earlier film may have been used. Also, several other actors reprised their roles: Frank McHugh, Regis Toomey, John Harron, Ralph Dunn, Sol Gorss, Billy Arnold and Billy Wayne. Some new scenes were shot when they interacted with the new actors, but scenes otherwise were lifted from the earlier film. We see Frank McHugh coughing, laughing and finally dying when his car catches fire, all from the old footage. We see his wife crossing the track to get to him from the old footage, and even though the earlier wife was played by Charlotte Merriam and his wife in this film was Grace Stafford, you cannot tell the difference in longshot. But the police who restrain her made it obvious it was from the old footage. Old footage is also used when the pitmen, John Harron and Billy Wayne, signal the driver with signs. And every crash, spinout, fire, crowd scene as well as the cars racing around the track was from the old footage. (At one point a horse inexplicably appears on the track in both films at the same place.) When seen in closeup with the new actors, these cars had the same numbers painted on their sides, so that the announcers' descriptions made sense. All of the old footage, however, was smoothly edited in with the new. Since a good deal of the cost of the original film was in the racing sequences, this really was a great object lesson on how to remake a film cheaply.

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