Film: 9598

Sport | 1950 | Sound | B/W

Clip:

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Synopsis:

1920's racing cars rumble past the grandstand (on the far side) and a group of officials (one the near side). A wider angle shot from a slightly different position reveals spectators watching the onrushing racers from behind a fence. A lone racing car drives around one of the circuit's corners, passing a broken down car, which is being pushed along by driver and co-driver.

Close-up of broken down car 22 reveals tail damage and a tyre dislodged from the wheel. Abandoned car number 8 stands in the grassy bank of the circuit with its damaged axle. Another motionless car rests on one of the circuit's steeped curves and it seems to have splits its oil deposit over the track. Six competing cars race past grandstand B. In the pit lane the mechanics pass large containers of water r petrol to the co-driver of car 32 who pours them into the car. One of the mechanics fills a cup of water from a tap and hands it to the driver.

A driver lies injured behind his damaged car. Five race stewards run to help, lifting and carrying him away. With the race over cars pull into the pit stop area: car 3 gets guided in by race officials; car 9 is pushed along by driver, co-driver and presumably team mechanic. Other details from the pit: competitor (possibly American Howdy Wilcox) sits in car 3; two other competitors, their overalls covered in oil and grime, take water refreshment.

The caption reads '1920', and a racing car pulls in to a standstill. Close-up of a smiling French driver sitting at his wheel. Cars 1 and 9 are shown as examples of 3 litre engines. A tyreless car is wheeled forward by mechanics. The French competitor winks at the camera as his co-driver climbs into car 26. Out of their racing overalls, two French drivers engage in horseplay, pulling of ears and pushing each other. Another close-up of driver in car, waving and smiling at camera.

Shots of cars racing around the track are intercut with other action from the race: two competitors push their car (19) down the track; a mechanic works on repairing the faulty steering arm of the Chevrolet (5); a competitor runs down the track; car 2 pulls away having apparently had the cause of its breakdown fixed; the French driver, Ballot, lowers the bonnet of his car and climbs, along with his co-driver, into the car (2), rejoining the race. The winner of the race, car 4, is a Chevrolet and is driven by the French Gaston, who is surrounded by a crowd of mechanics, officials and photographers, as their car is pushed down into the winner's enclosure.

In France, two cycle-cars begin to race down a dusty track with on-looking spectators. The cycle-cars head down narrow roads with surrounding trees. Breakdowns occur: a driver stands over his car (16) which lies on its side and is joined by interested spectators; in the open country, two competitors try to take their damaged wheel off the axle. Car 6 emerged the victor, pulling in at the small grandstand. The crowd surrounds the driver and his mechanic.

A light-car race (in France) sets off, with the pear-shaped radiator Bugattis dominating the race: car 23 (Bugatti) overtakes a smaller car (7) on a corner, races down a tree-lined street and comes into finish. The French victors sitting in their Bugatti pose for the camera. A bouquet of flowers adorns the bonnet and a young girl stands next to the seated driver.

Behind the caption of 1921 is a smiling and laughing Henry Ford at Indianapolis. On his sleeve he wears a 'guest' band and converses with four men. The winner of the Indianapolis race is Tommy Milton, who with co-driver receives acclaim from the surrounding crowd, whilst sitting in their car. The victorious Milton raises his glass to the camera and drinks, as does the co-driver.

The photographers in their car set off, firmly holding their large cameras. Close-up of De Palme (?) at his steering wheel, wearing white, unmarked overalls. Details from the Le Mans road race follow: cars race around the dusty circuit; a car slowly drives by with its back tyre punctured and smoking; a close-up of a frayed and punctured tyre; two competitors change their tyre. Car 12, the American Duesenberg, emerges victorious, driven by Jimmy Murphy. It proceeds into the pit's and winners' enclosure. The co-driver smoking a cigarette places the bouquet of flowers into the lap of Murphy, whose face is blackened, apart from the white rings around his eyes.

The year is 1922, and two cars, containing photographs drive down a French road, overtaken by other cars (possibly racers). Before the French Grand Prix can start, the officials explain matters to the racing competitors. The camera pans across the listening drivers and mechanics. The drivers take their positions for the start of the race. A man with a very large megaphone presumably calls the drivers to prepare to race. The cars set off in the wet conditions down the home straight. The Fiat (4) is the first to the 'Spidoleine' corner, followed by the Bugatti (5) and a succession of other cars. The Aston-Martin (8) does well until coming to a standstill in front of the grandstand. One of the driving team opens up the bonnet to fix the engine, while the other pours water into the radiator. Bugattis race around the circuit, skidding at the corner as they struggle to hold the road. The race takes its toll as a couple of cars crash.

From a roof with its tiles removed, spectators and a cameraman follow the race. The Fiats are pulling away from the other cars, occupying the first three positions. Car 7 crashes into a fence and the driver and mechanic attempt to get the car roadworthy, without much success. Other cars race past the wreck of car 7. Another wreck is off the Fiat which claims the life of the driver's mechanic. Rear axle failure accounts for the accident and affects another Fiat in the race approaching a corner with the result of the left-back wheel flying off into the safety barrier. Further up the road the car has stopped and the mechanic having retrieved the loose wheel, rolls it up to the damaged Fiat. The wheel is rested against the car and the mechanic drinks from a Thermos flask. The remaining Fiat stays in the lead and takes the winning flag. The crowd waves and claps its approval. Bugattis finish in second and third position.

The French Grand Prix 1923 shows the Sunbeams in new design, similar to the Fiats of the previous year. Mechanics in white overalls perform the last touches to the cars before the start. The distinctive Bugattis await the start. The cars race off on a sunny day down the course which takes them through town areas. A smoking car 3 straws into the pit lane. It is successfully restarted and rejoins the race. More town race scenes follow, before the winner of the race is revealed as the British driver Segrave who gets to work on a Mercedes, which shortly after rejoins the race. The race is won by the Mercedes (10). A cheering crowd surrounds the winning car and someone pours champagne into the driver's cockpit.

At Lyon, the Alfa Romeo P-2 appears for the first time. One of their drivers is Antonio Ascarri, seen looking over the petrol filling duties of the mechanics. The driver of car 19 is Euzo Ferrari. The race commences and a Sunbeam takes the lead. Segrave in car 1. Various race shots follow including, Segrave's misfiring Sunbeam which loses him the lead, cars tackling the hilly race circuit and sharp corners - one violently brushing against a safety barrier but managing to avoid crashing. The eventual winner is Campari in the Alfa Romeo and his car is quickly surrounded by an excited crowd. Campari swigs from a bottle of champagne.

Drivers prepare for the start of the 1925 Belgian Grand Prix. They set off around the course, no longer accompanied by riding mechanics during the race. Ascarri in the Alfa Romeo wins the race and receives flowers at the winner's presentation ceremony.

At the French Grand Prix 1925, a reporter questions Ascarri on the pit lane before the race. The cars race off around the modern circuit. The stands are full of spectators. Disaster strikes as Ascarri's car leaves the road on one of the fast bends, and results in his death. The French car (10) wins the Grand Prix and stops before a crowd. The French driver walks up the steps to the winner's podium where he receives garland of flowers and congratulations from important dignitaries.

Footage of the Alfa Romeo team before the race, sitting down at tables in the open air and Ascarri playing boules is shown.

The crowds and cars flock to see the Italian Grand Prix. Bugatti (in bowler hat?) talks to group of men at Monza. The Bugatti cars line up on the track at Monza. An open bonnet reveals the Bugatti engine. The Duesenberg cars are driven by Peter Christ (?) and Tommy Milton while the Alfa cars are driven by Campari and Count Viliperi (?) (seen seated in his car placing goggles over his eyes). Instructions are given to an official how to work the race flag. A figure stands in front of the camera obscuring the start of the race. Shots from the race circuit show the P2 Alfas in the lead. An American driver pulls into the pits for repairs and drives off smoking a cigarette. Car 14 receives attention from the driver Perry and a mechanic, and eventually ends up winning the race. Campari in the P-2 comes in second.

The light-car races see the Talbots dominate: a white Talbot sweeps past car 37, various winning Talbot drivers are shown at the end of their races.

The 1926 French Grand Prix starts with only 3 cars.

Close-up of a garage door being opened by a man with pliers cutting the wire holding the doors closed. Two horses pull a sports racing car. A tyre is eased onto a wheel while another man watches. Another man tests the steering wheel. The sports car races lack crowds and atmosphere of Grand Prixs, until the Le Mans 24 hour race. On the first lap of Le Mans the cars race with their hoods up (a requirement in the rules). French cars occupy the first three positions at the end of the race, lining up together with their garlands.

Examples of racing in the United States follow: crashes, a man jumps from an inflamed car, spewing think black smoke and still in motion. High speed cars race around race track. At Indianapolis, Peter De Paolo (?) sitting in his Duesenberg receives congratulations. Another famous winner is Frank Lockhard who sitting at his car wheel at end of a race, drinks from a small bottle.

A line of Grand Prix cars set off to race, winding their way around the circuit. A chequered flag waves to signal the winner off the race as the car crosses the finish line.

Cars set off in 1926 German Grand Prix. Car 14 stalls while other vehicles pass. In course of race it starts to rain. Two cars drive past in the wet conditions. The leader of the race crashes. Close-up of mangled car wreck. Winner of the German Grand Prix sits at the wheeling the usual victor's car shot - surrounded by people (officials, mechanics, well-wishers etc.) and garland of flowers places on bonnet.

Driver and four men wheel car that is to be used for the land speed record. People behind stone wall look on. Malcolm Campbell sitting in the Sunbeam that brought him the official land speed record of 150 mph. A mechanic cranks the motor up while being watched by a large group of people. Segrave, who succeeded in increasing the land speed record, makes adjustment to his car engine in front of interested onlookers. The next holder of the record, Paddy Thomas, stands smoking a cigarette in front of his car and the throng of people behind. The bonnet is lifted to reveal the engine of his car.

1927, and Campbell arrives with a new car, Napier Campbell Bluebird, onto the beach. A group of people help position the car on the beach. Shots of the Bluebird in action on the beach.

Shot of Parry Thomas and mechanics standing behind car, with engine revealed, that they hope will break land speed record. Car is wheeled down onto the beach of Pendine Sands in South Wales and sets off. Attempts to break record follow - the third attempt showing Thomas' car smoking. Close-up of car wreck which has claimed the life of Parry Thomas.

In Florida, woman in bathing costume, standing on a car seat, smashes champagne bottle against freight car (which probably contains car to break land speed record). Segrave sits in his new Sunbeam with two aero-engines. Cars set off for record attempt. Overhead shot of Segrave's car racing down the beach. Following the record attempt, Segrave is greeted by jubilant crowd and lifted onto shoulders of his entourage.

President of France steps out of car and greets officials at the French Grand Prix. He climbs up the small staircase to take his viewing position in the grandstand. Shot of French race fans in grandstand. The small number of cars which have entered the race set off. Action from different places of the circuit follows. Car 6, the Delage, wins the race and is quickly surrounded by well-wishers. The winner, Robert Benoir, is congratulated in Gallic fashion (two kisses on cheek) by man. The owner of the victorious race team, Louis Delage, poses with Chamberlain and Laville (the latest flyers across the Atlantic). Benoir sits on top of his car with crowd encircling him.

Cars set off in wet conditions for the Italian Grand Prix. Close-up of Benoir, having won the race, giving salute.

A queue of amateur cars line up to race at Brooklands and set off with varying degrees of success.

1928, on a sunny tree-lined road, Italian champion motorcyclist, in company of two men, smiles at the camera. Woman holds chequered flag in front of racing car. A race starts - various shots of Bugattis in action follow. The Rome Grand Prix is won by car 24, the Bugatti. The winner stands on his car seat and raises his arms in triumph in front of the large crowd.

Cars begin race at Le Mans. Shots from around the circuit follow. Wolf Benatto wins the race (car 4) - is sitting in car in winner's enclosure.

Shot of peculiar looking motorcycle as it manoeuvres its way round a corner.

A car pulls in a town or city street and the tyres turn until they are face on, enabling the car to circle completely around, with onlookers moving out of the way.

1929, close-up of Golden Arrow on beach with Segrave, before the attempt to regain land speed record. Shots of the car speeding up and down the beach. Segrave's Golden arrow shatters the world record and pulls in. Segrave climbs out of the car accepting handshakes and congratulations of small group. Close-up of Segrave in helmet and goggles with lady friend. On board the open deck of a ship three men and one women sit looking at photographs. Close-up of telegram sent to Segrave to congratulate him on the world record from King George V.

Cars race round the newly inaugurated Monaco Grand Prix. Various race shots from around the Monte Carlo streets, harbour area and through tunnel. Drivers sprint across the race track to their waiting cars, start the engines and pull away. Shots from the race, which results in a British Bentley victory. Close-up of winner at end of race, sitting in car with flowers.

A white flag is lowered to signal the start of Ireland's first Grand Prix, a sports car race. Action shots from around Dublin's (?) streets: cars spin around, fail to negotiate corners. The Alfa Romeo (15) wins the race.

End credits - various acknowledgements to motoring organisation and museums. Final shot - Shell logo.


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