Green Helmet The (1961)

Green Helmet The (1961)

Lots of car racing sequences for the enthusiast in this one; at least three major races and lots of test runs to boot. The film opens at the 24 hours of Le Mans. Bill Travers plays an aging race car driver Rafferty who has an accident causing him to think twice before racing again. His Australian crew chief Richie (Sid James) has had enough and tells Rafferty so when he visits him in the hospital. However a “hard of hearing” American businessman Bartell (Ed Begley) wants to see Rafferty the moment he gets out of the hospital. Bartell is a smalltime tire manufacturer who is convinced he can compete with Firestone Goodyear etc. if Rafferty will sign on with him for a year at $25000 and help him improve his latest model. He also wants him to race in two big races Le Mans and Mille Miglai (1000 miles) in Italy. But Rafferty hesitates because his Dad was killed racing in the Mille Miglai. However Bartell also happens to have a beautiful daughter Diane (Nancy Walters) and their mutual attraction (and his desire to “get back on the horse”?) convinces him to accept the job.

Then Rafferty returns home to an expensive estate in which he supports his mother (Ursula Jeans) and his 20 year old brother Taz (Sean Kelly) named after a famous race car driver. Taz has just signed on with another sponsor because he assumed that his brother was retiring. Evidentially there was an agreement between the two boys and their mother that only one of them could race at a time and Taz is ready for his turn. However when Rafferty tells of his job with Rafferty Taz is upset and storms off. The next thing Rafferty does is track down Richie who has settled down with his wife Kitty (Megs Jenkins) as the owner of a gas station. Richie shows Rafferty a car he has designed and has been building by hand and Rafferty offers him an opportunity to race it. Of course he accepts and it’s off to test the car & the tires.

Though the tires fail initially and Bartell & his product manager Ed (Gordon Tanner) trick Rafferty into racing at Sebring in Florida as well. He wins the race but only after using someone else’s tires and one of his friends is killed when he passes him aggressively. The rest of this one is pretty predictable. Rafferty gets engaged to Diane another person close to him will die in a race car accident he reconciles with his brother Taz and the only question is whether Rafferty can conquer the ghost of his Dad’s accident and win the Mille Miglai. Do you think he can?

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