Road Demon


1h 5m 1938

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 2, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 5m
Film Length
6,350ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Tony Gambini, whose father runs a delicatessan, joins his friend, truck driver Jimmy Blake, for his morning produce pick-up. Jimmy, a champion "dirt track" driver, whom Tony idolizes, hopes to win the five dollar prize that goes to the first truck to arrive at the market each morning. On a curvy, mountain road, Jimmy passes a driver who earlier picked up two champion racecar drivers, Skid Miller and Hap Flynn, whose car had stalled. Skid takes the wheel and passes Jimmy. Jimmy gives chase, but when a truck comes the other way, he is forced off the road and into a tree. With the spindle damaged and axle bent, Jimmy surmises that he will be fired, so he and Tony go to the speedway to watch time tryouts. One of the drivers is Ted Rogers, whose father died a year earlier due to scheme perpetrated by Anderson, an owner of racecars. Anderson's drivers, Skid, Hap and Bud Casey, got Ted's father drunk the night before a race and then interfered with him during the race. The subsequent accident that caused Rogers' death was blamed on him because of alcohol found in his blood. While testing a stabilizer for his boss Douglas, Ted takes a spill, which greatly upsets his sister Jean, with whom Jimmy has unsuccessfully tried to flirt. Later, Jimmy, now working as a delivery driver for Papa Gambini, almosts hits Jean in Papa's new truck. They have lunch together, and Jimmy makes a date with her for that evening. Skid, who is troubled by Ted's resemblance to his father, and his cohorts get Ted drunk that night. Jimmy tries to sober him up for the test the next day and breaks the date with Jean. The next day, when Ted is not ready, Jimmy tells Douglas that Ted is sick and offers to test the car himself. Ted and Jean arrive, and when Jimmy crashes against the wall, Jean screams. After Jimmy is declared alright at the hospital, Douglas says that he is through with racing because of the danger. Jean then berates Jimmy because she thinks that he lied about Ted so that he could get the chance to drive himself; however, Ted later reveals to Jean that Jimmy protected his reputation. Jimmy convinces Papa to buy the wreck of the Douglas car with Jimmy's money, so that they can build it up and race it. He then convinces Papa to put up money for new tires and the entry fee, and to hire Ted as the driver, without letting anyone know that he is behind it. To raise the money, Mama Gambini goes to various relatives and sells percentages in the car, but Papa discovers that she has sold 120% and figures that if the car wins, he will be in debt. On the day of the race, Anderson tells the racing official of Ted's drinking, and Ted is suspended. When Jean learns that Jimmy is driving instead, she thinks he is double-crossing her brother. After Jimmy takes the lead and goes two laps in front of the field, the three drivers working for Anderson try to block him, but he gets through. When Hap's wheels lock, forcing him out of the race, Jimmy hits the wall and hurts his arm. In the hospital, Hap confesses to Jimmy that he and his cohorts spiked Ted's father's drink. Jimmy then convinces the official to reinstate Ted as a driver. Meanwhile, the Gambini relatives have learned that their car is out of the race, and Mama is able to buy back their shares for 10% of what they paid. During the race, Casey is flagged out when he tries to force Ted to the wall. Casey then tells Anderson that he is through and slugs him. With three laps to go, Skid looks at Ted and remembering Ted's father, loses control and crashes over the wall. Ted wins and sets a new speed record. Jean kisses Jimmy and Mama hugs Papa, after assuring him that they won't have to go to the poorhouse.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 2, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 5m
Film Length
6,350ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The opening credits read, "Twentieth Century-Fox presents Road Demon A Sports Adventure." This was the second in Twentieth Century-Fox's "Sports Series." For information regarding the series, please see the entry below for Speed to Burn. According to Hollywood Reporter, a unit consisting of director Otto Brower, cameramen Barney McGill and J. L. Taylor, and unit manager Ben Wurtzel went to Indianapolis to film the Memorial Day Speedway Classic for this film. Variety noted that the film included footage of famous Indianapolis speedway accidents. Box Office commented that the film boasted "the best race sequences ever captured on film."