Deity, Legendary hero, Silver Arrow pilot… only three synonyms for the most successful German automobile racing driver of the first half of the 20th century: Rudolf Caracciola.
Born in 1901, ‘Caratsch’ was permitted to get his license at the young age of 15. Later he won the Mille Miglia as the first non-Italian and was subsequently crowned European Champion three times. With his spectacular high-speed records he eclipsed his competition. Especially in wet weather, the Silver Arrow by Mercedes Benz, and its ambitious “rain master” Caracciola formed an almost invincible unity. While others lost their lives on the racetracks across the globe, Caracciola survived dramatic accidents. Neither the worst injuries nor his first wife’s tragic death in an avalanche could keep him from jumping into the cockpit again and again, with an almost ceaseless quest for victory.
Caracciola is remembered – along with Tazio Nuvolari and Bernd Rosemeyer – as one of the greatest pre-1939 Grand Prixdrivers. His reputation as a perfectionist, rarely a victim of accidents, or responsible for mechanical failures in his cars, was the man who again and again would deliver regardless of the conditions. His relationship with legendary Mercedes racing manager, Alfred Neubauer, is often cited as a contributing factor to his success. After Caracciola's death, Neubauer described him as “... the greatest driver of the twenties and thirties, perhaps even of all time. He combined, to an extraordinary extent, determination with concentration, physical strength with intelligence. Caracciola was second to none in his ability to triumph over shortcomings.” Even today, Caracciola's record of six German Grand Prix victories remains undefeated.
In this biographical documentary by director Philip Selkirk, the renowned racer – who died in 1959 – candidly tells his life from the first-person perspective and, thus, lends a fresh, rather intimate insight into the motor sport events of the Weimar Republic and the “Third Reich.”
Historical images of some unreleased material from the archives of Daimler/Mercedes Benz and Audi (formerly Auto-Union), interviews with contemporary witnesses and family members, sound bites of racing-companions and competitors such as: Manfred von Brauchitsch, Hermann Lang and Bernd Rosemeyer turn this atmospheric, gasoline-soaked film into a unique record of the European motor racing history.
“Caracciola – The Ceaseless Quest for Victory” is a joint production of Selkirk & Heimann Media GmbH and Daimler AG/Mercedes Benz Classic.
“Selkirk weaves emotion and documentary while staying true to the facts. This is what makes this film such a jewel, not just for racing fans. It fans out to become a universal racing-opus of that great epoch… The narration is fictitious – a trick that creates the intimacy.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 22 June 2009
“Thanks to the first-person perspective the viewer is drawn into the spell. The racing scenes show how hard the driver fought and struggled with their cars.”
Welt am Sonntag, 9 August 2009
Runtime: 97 min.
Release date: June 2009