Peter Wells, a former world class driver of midget racers, has been struggling to regain his winning form in the two years since his discharge as an Air Force pilot. He's being pressed by his wife, who worries about his safety, to quit and his best friend 'Pic' Dallapiccola to retire to the pit crew. Wells also feels pressure from Guido Rosetti, a rival younger driver on his Corsi team, who thinks he's lost his nerve. After he has a disagreement with Pic just prior to an important race, his friend's car is involved in a horrific accident. Against orders, Wells quits the race early to be able to make his peace with his friend, who lies dying in the hospital. Tony Bellario, his Corsi boss, initially fires him for his actions, but relents and gives him one last desperate chance to redeem himself in the upcoming Grand Prix. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Taking advantage of arrangements favoured by the UK's Eady levy (a state film subsidy established after the war) in 1950, American producer Robert Lippert formed a business alliance with Hammer studios. Under the agreement, Lippert would provide American acting talent - frequently shop-worn stars or just supporting actors who fancied a profitable trip out of the country - while Hammer would supply the rest of the cast and the production facilities. Together they would split the profits. Famous for his concern with the bottom line, Lippert produced over 140 films between 1946 and 1955, characteristically genre pieces such as I Shot Jesse James or Rocketship XM. For the British deal, most of the films were noir-ish thrillers. None were entirely of the first rank, but they remain never less than entertaining - and include this title..
A Terence Fisher-directed effort: Race For Life (aka: Mask Of Dust, 1954), is a straightforward racing drama more than anything else. Richard Conte stars as Wells, the driver who - predictably enough - feels he might have lost his nerve whilst being saddled with blonde wife Patricia (Mari Aldon), who wants him to retire. When a fellow driver suffers a bad accident Wells feels he owes it to him, and to himself, to prove he still has it, one last time. Wells was formerly in the air force where, apparently, "he used to fly his plane the way he'd drive" so his courage is never in doubt - even if, as we see him nudge his smoking, oil-filled car round the track at the last, we feel his judgment may need inspection. The chief attraction in a film built around two big racing sequences is the location footage and the appearance of some real racing names, such as Stirling Moss, as supporting colour. Off the track the plot is less eventful, as even the potential rivalry between Wells as another driver is resolved without so much as a fist fight by the end. Tough guy Conte's story lacks enough conflict, leaving the actor little to do. For completists only.
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