Having been fortunate enough to receive an invitation to the London Premiere of the movie McLaren, a wonderful tribute to Bruce McLaren and his many achievements, I then cast my mind back to the previous motor racing-based movies I have watched over the years. Like all cinematic productions, they vary from excellent to awful, or worse. The first one I recall was To Please a Lady starring Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck, but at that time I had no interest in motor racing and it seemed to me, as a nine-year old, that it was a sport that featured too many accidents and ambulances. All a bit scary. The romantic liaisons between the stars, probably more interesting than the racing, were completely lost on me at that age.
Five years later, in 1955, I had come to my senses and decided (or realized) that motor racing was the greatest of all sports so a new movie, The Racers, starring Kirk Douglas, was very welcome. By now I was able to recognize some of the cars, including Maserati 4CLTs and the first of the HWMs that had been raced in real time by my new-found hero Stirling Moss. He still is my great racing hero. One of those HWMs from the movie survives today as the Stovebolt Special, owned by that wonderful man Simon Taylor, and who in recent times had a starring role in one of the better racing films, Rush, the 1970s-based story of James Hunt and Niki Lauda, directed by Ron Howard. A nice feature of this movie is that it keeps to an almost accurate story line and has not been “Hollywoodized” like so many others where fact, fiction and fantasy become rolled into one.
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