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For The Racers, Kirk Douglas dusts off his character from Champion and gives it a new home in the European Auto Racing Circuit. He also decides, wisely I believe, not to adopt any kind of phony Italian accent in his portrayal of Gino Borgesa, a race car driver who is ruthless in his drive to reach the top of his profession.
Henry Hathaway assembles a very good supporting cast with Lee J. Cobb as the Italian auto manufacturer and fellow drivers Cesar Romero and Gilbert Roland giving a good account of themselves.
This must have been a chore for Douglas to make however because Darryl Zanuck was using this film to showcase his latest mistress, Bella Darvi. The woman made three films this one, Hell and High Water, and The Egyptian before Zanuck gave up.
Poor Bella couldn't act worth anything, but supposedly her other talents were legendary. Her life story would make a fascinating film, much better than The Racers. Bella did look right at home in the various jet setting locales for The Racers. It's where she spent her time and tragically died too young there.
As for The Racers, Kirk simply reprises his role in Champion and goes through the motions. Champion was a far better film. And the ending was no cop out as I believe viewers of The Racers will find to be so.
Good action scenes here. But in the sixties Grand Prix with the advantage of Cinerama would make The Racers outdated on a technical level.
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