Sunday, June 9, 2019

Red Hot Tires

I've mentioned on a number of occasions how much I enjoy the Warner Bros. B movies and programmers, which always have something really zippy about them. A good example of a movie that's more fun than it has any right being is Red Hot Tires.

Lyle Talbot plays Wallace "Wally" Storm, chief mechanic for Sanford Motors, a company that makes race cars led by dad Martin (Henry Kolker) and his daughter Patricia (Mary Astor), who has a surpisingly big part in the racing business for a woman of those days. Wally carries on a platonic relationship with Patricia, and also dreams of becoming a driver in the big league himself. But the Sanfords' current driver Bob (Gavin Gordon) also has the hots for Patricia and is none too pleased that Wally is getting ideas above his station. Eventually, Bob gets Wally fired, much to the consternation of Wally's mechanic Bud (Roscoe Karns) and protege Johnny (Frankie Darro).

Wally gets to ride in a big race against Bob, but Bob has a trick up his sleeve involving something in the tires that is supposed to doom anybody who gets too close to his tires, apparently a common tactic in racing in those days. Sure enough, Wally gets too close to Bob's tires, but it backfires, as Bob is the one who goes off the track and down a ravine, killing him. Based on vague threats Wally had spoken about, he's put on trial for the murder of Bob, and convicted!

Johnny saw but couldn't hear Bob's plan to get Wally, and when he and Patricia investigate they're able to get a pardon for Wally. (Really, at most a new trial would be in order.) But on the evening that the pardon is to be delivered, Bud springs Wally from prison! The two friends go down to South America to escape extradition, and Wally becomes the famous American race car driver Bulldog. Patricia puts two and two togehter....

Red Hot Tires has all sorts of continuity problems and veers from one part of the plot to another overly quickly, getting everything done in a little over an hour. And yet, all along the way it's a lot of fun, thanks to professional performances from all the main stars. There's nothing great here, but you'll be entertained for an hour.

Red Hot Tires has been released to DVD courtesy of the Warner Archive collection.

1 comment:

Jessie said...

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