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Cocky car racer Nick Jargin has retired since he nearly caused the death of his brother at a hairpin bend on a circuit. He now holds a trendy café who keeps him busy full time until one day, Tony Boari, a new champion racer, challenges him. Nick returns to competition and this time around he will have not only to beat his new rival but also his own demons. Kelly, her pretty lover, and Mrs. Jargin, his no-nonsense mother will help him to. Written by
The Devil's Hairpin was one of the more exciting racing movies from the 50's. It is also a compelling story of the conflict within the main character, played by Cornel Wilde.
Wilde (who also directed) plays retired race car champion Nick Jargin. Jargin owns a nightclub and lives on past glory, never missing an opportunity to boast that he could still beat anyone on the track. What his legion of fans doesn't know is that he is, in fact, afraid to race again. In his last race he caused an accident which severely injured his younger brother. He had a decision to make between backing off at "The Devil's Hairpin" which might have allowed his brother to win, or jeopardizing his brother's life by not letting him pass. He chose the latter, and although his brother doesn't blame him for the resulting accident, he has always blamed himself.
A local columnist finally goads him into racing again, and together with some cronies, he builds a race car. In the final race, he is faced with the same circumstance that caused his brother's accident.
Wilde knew a great deal about how to tell a story. There is personal conflict, romance (his wife Jean Wallace plays Jargin's girlfriend) and of course the inevitable showdown both on the track and with his own past. The story is told in flashback, beginning on the starting grid for this final, defining race.
It ain't "Grand Prix" as far as racing realism is concerned, but still solid entertainment. I have often wished this film were available on video or DVD. It is one of my favorites from the 50's.
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