Documentary covering the 1955 Le Mans endurance race - the one with the terrible crash.
Priest says Mass on covered open air stage. A large crowd are gathered in front of the stage. Side angle shot of the religious service. Crowd stand in silence. Many sign themselves with the cross. Shot of the priests, both Protestant and Catholic faiths are represented. Race continues through the early morning. Porsche and Masserati are both seen racing. Rain starts to fall. Crowds are now seen holding umbrellas and wearing rain coats and macs. Man sitting on ground completely covered with a rain cape and wearing a flat cap. Man seated on camp chair under canvas cover. People covering heads with blanket to keep of the rain. Lots more people looking wet. Cars still race. The Aston Martin goes round a corner. More motor racing scenes.
Changes are made to the scoreboard. Man in pit lane holds out board to signal to passing car. The sign reads "Happy Birthday". Cars have difficulty holding the road in the rain. The Le Mans race continues. Man leans out of pit lane. He is fully kitted out in rain wear. A Bristol pulls into the pits. The driver looks concerned as mechanics check car. More racing scenes. People sit by their tents eating. French policeman (Gendarme) walks past with traditional French loaf of bread under his arm. The racing continues. Crowds gather in the pits. A race official stands at the edge of the track. Press cameramen stand with their cameras. Man in hat smokes cigarette. Race official prepares the chequered flag. People look on. A car approaches the finish. The flag is waved. French policeman looks on. More finishers. Photographers gather around the winning car in the pit lane. Flowers presented to winners. Mike Hawthorn with flowers is feted by the crowd. He sits in the car with his co-driver they both sign autographs. Empty grandstands with rubbish and waste blowing in the wind. The End. see next record for on screen credits and notes.
Edited by Lionel Hoare, Photographed by Stan Goozee, Martin Rolfe, Jo Jago, Henri Persin, Jean Lemoine, Jean Fontenelle, Sound by W. S. Bland, George Newberry, Nolan Roberts, Dubbing Editor...Don Brewer, Production Unit...Terry Hunter, Eric Fullilove, John Parsons, Technical Advisers..Norman Freeman, Peter Bedlow, Commentary by Raymond Baxter, Directed by Terry Ashwood, Produced by Howard Thomas.
Note: More than Eighty people died in this crash which happened on June 11th 1955. The footage in 55/48 shows the more graphic scenes of the aftermath of the crash which are left out of this documentary. The car which bursts into flames is the No 20 Mercedes driven by Levegh and Fitch.
Lots of nice behind the scenes shots. All the names of cars and drivers are taken from the voice over - please inform Pathe of corrections. Reel 2 was originally reel 3 and 4.