Winning Film Details
Overview: Frank Capua is a rising star on the race circuit who dreams of winning the big one–the Indianapolis 500. But to get there he runs the risk of losing his wife Elora to his rival, Luther Erding, and strains the relationship with his s
Tagline: Winning is… everything.
Review: Fans of Newman can hardly skip this lesser entry in his sizable filmography as he’s shown off to his best advantage throughout. He plays a race car driver (of varying kinds) who one night, after a big win, meets up with a lonely single mother (Woodward) and sweeps her off her feet. They set off on a whirlwind courtship, ending in marriage, and Newman agrees to adopt her teen son (Thomas) whose life has lacked a father figure. Things run swimmingly until Newman has to go off on to the racing circuit, leaving Woodward alone to stew and return to her previous, lonesome life. A reunion at the Indy 500 does not go as well as either of them had hoped and soon their marriage in jeopardy. Newman has trouble separating his worries about his wife from his duties on the track. Meanwhile, Thomas is torn between his mother and his new father, who he looks up to and adores. Also, fellow racer Wagner is always right there, ready to take any and all trophies away from Newman if he can. On the surface, this seems like a film about racing, but it’s really a domestic drama examining Newman and Woodward’s relationship and the hazards of not communicating properly with one another. It’s also a fable illustrating that “winning isn’t everything”, a point that is driven home not so subtly. When they talk about Newman’s baby blue eyes, this is a film that really shows them off. His sun-kissed face provides the perfect setting for his piercing, gorgeous eyes. He does a lot of brooding in the film, but there are fun moments as well. He gets to show many sides to his persona and looks terrific in the clean, trim sportswear of the era (and shows off his fit figure in a brief swimming scene.) Woodward gives a solid, thoughtful performance as well, though her various Edith Head get-ups have not aged as nicely as Newman’s wardrobe. At one point, to help get Newman’s attention focused back on her, she dons a really frumpy wig which, thankfully, doesn’t stay around too long. Thomas, in his film debut, makes a strong impression. The director would later use him in “Red Sky at Morning”. He, along with the other leads, has a tendency to open his mouth as if to say something, but then doesn’t, which can be a little tiresome, but it does aid the point that these people have trouble saying what they really want to say. Wagner is a prop more than anything… a plot device, but he does manage to get one fairly decent scene in towards the end. The film has a fast-cutting, rapid editing style that does help move it along, though truly it is a tad long for the story it has to tell. Though the authentic footage from the Indianapolis 500 is fascinating in its nostalgia and gives the film unquestionable “you are there” realism, a bit of it, along with some other sections, might have been trimmed to allow for a better-greased movie. The fast-clip pacing and thoughtful relationship drama would be completely absent from Newman and director Goldstone’s later work, the abysmal “When Time Ran Out”. Composer Grusin provides a bouncy, sometimes goofy, but always interesting, score. This film kicked off a love of racing in Newman which lasted the rest of his life, causing one of the few points of contention in his lengthy, real-life marriage to Woodward as she could rarely bear to watch him on the dangerous track.
Country: United States
Duration: 123 min
Genre: Action, Drama, Sport
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