The Devil's Hairpin


1h 23m 1957

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 1957
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 16 Oct 1957
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.; Theodora Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m

Synopsis

At a race car track in Southern California, undefeated champion Nick Jargin has emerged from retirement to race against the world's best and prove that he is still invincible. As the race begins, Nick, who has a large ego, remembers how he was persuaded to compete once more: At the nightclub he owns, Nick is needled by sports columnist Mike Houston, who asks him to comment on the current top driver, Tony Botari. Nick claims that Botari wins because he has no competition and boasts that he could beat him if he chose to return. Nick is also being bothered by girl friend Kelly James, who feels that she is just another of his trophies, but still wants to marry him. When Nick learns that his brother Johnny, a former driver who was involved in a bad accident and has suffered psychologically, is servicing a car owned by Botari's manager, Danny Rhinegold, he makes Johnny quit. After Houston writes in his column that Nick is to try a comeback, Danny tells Nick that it would be the race of the century if he were to compete against Botari. Later, at a sports car show, Nick receives more encouragement to race again, and on a television show, is goaded by Houston, who declares that Nick is afraid to return. On his mother's birthday, Nick takes Kelly to meet her, although he and his mother are estranged. The prim and proper Mrs. Jargin, who blames Nick for causing the accident that injured Johnny during a neck-and-neck race in a hairpin bend, refuses Nick's present and tells him that she did not ask him to come. Later, at his club, Nick and his customers watch Houston's television show, on which Botari is a guest. On the air, Houston phones the club and Botari challenges Nick, but he does not rise to the bait. When Kelly visits Nick's mother to try to reconcile them, Mrs. Jargin tells her that she should leave Nick, as he will not share his life and needs no one. Kelly then gives Nick an ultimatum to marry her or lose her, and Nick declines. At the club, Nick becomes involved in a fight with Botari, who challenges him to race, and, finally, Nick is forced to agree. Nick then approaches Danny for assistance, but because Danny manages Botari and was previously involved with Kelly, he refuses. When Nick decides to build his own car, he enlists the help of two former mechanics, Tani Ritter and Doc Addams. While the car is being built, Nick romances other women and Kelly resumes her relationship with Danny, but cannot forget Nick. After successful road tests of the new car, Tani persuades Nick to go to see Kelly at the health club where she works as an instructor. However, Kelly does not welcome him and rejects his marriage proposal. On the night before the race, Nick goes to see his mother and confesses that he regrets he is racing again. Mrs. Jargin tells him that, as a child, he was extremely jealous of Johnny and believes that he tried to kill him in the race. After talking with Johnny at the club and admitting that he wanted to destroy him, Nick then asks him to be with him at the race and Johnny agrees. Back at the race track, the one hundred lap race, which includes a hairpin bend, begins over rural roads, and Johnny, Doc and Tani are Nick's team in the pits. Mrs. Jargin listens to the account of the race on her home radio, while Kelly brings a mascot, Louis the parrot, to the pits. The race quickly develops into a battle between Nick, Botari and the Mexican champion, Chico Martinez, who are way out in front. After Martinez spins out, Botari takes the lead with one lap to go. As they approach the hairpin bend, Botari is about to crash, when Nick backs off in order to save him. However, Nick still manages to pass Botari and wins. The newly humble Nick tells the track announcer that he owes it all to his pit team and then states that he is retiring to raise a family with Kelly, who accepts his impromptu proposal.

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 1957
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 16 Oct 1957
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.; Theodora Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Theodora Productions, Inc. was owned by Cornel Wilde and his wife, Jean Wallace. A Hollywood Reporter column of October 16, 1957 reported that as per his contract with Paramount, Wilde deferred all his personal salary until Paramount recovered its cash outlay. After Wilde received his deferred pay, he and Paramount split fifty-fifty on all subsequent revenues. The column also stated that Paramount's cash outlay was to be around $350,000. When it was discovered that Wilde had made the film for $73,000 less than budgeted, Paramount made him a present of that amount. According to an August 1958 item in Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column, the picture, along with the Theodora film Maracaibo (see below), was so successful that Paramount realized a profit of $500,000 on each film.