Original Title: Kampf. Sports drama 1932; 86 min.; Director: Erich Schönfelder; Cast: Manfred von Brauchitsch, Evelyn Holt, Kurt Vespermann, Georg H. Schnell, Lucie Höflich, Jessie Vihrog, Alfred Abel, Hans Leibelt, Blandine Ebinger, Lia Eibenschütz, Henry Lorenzen, Hubert von Meyerinck; Majestic-Ufa-Klangfilm.

A racecar driver maintains a good friendship with a younger, successful colleague until he discovers his extramarital affairs with his wife. When the younger colleague now wants to seek death in the next race, the driver saves him and sets his wife free.

Anyone who knows even a little bit about motorsport knows Robert Wenck, the famous racecar driver who raced through Europe and the whole world in an uninterrupted series of victories. Now, after a year and a half, he had returned home to “mom” to recover thoroughly from the many wins and the constant celebration, which is almost as exhausting.

Steppke, Wenck’s loyal mechanic, was inseparable from his master and commander and had also returned home with him, where his equally spirited and perfect stenographer bride, Hilde, awaited him, although perhaps not as eagerly as she should have because Hilde suffered from a wide-ranging heart, a trait that Steppke successfully shared with her.

The break for Wenck and his mechanic did not last long because a new race in the mountains near Freiburg was already beckoning. Robert was particularly looking forward to this competition because here he would once again compete with his old friend and rival, Kurt Harder, after a long time. Robert Wenck, Kurt Harder – the two best local drivers, both daring, reliable, and skilled – every expert knows that, and Director Wagemann, the famous manufacturer of the most renowned German brand, would have liked to have both of them in the big race at the Nürburg-Ring, where the best international class gathered.

During training at the Freiburg track, Wenck meets his friend, and afterward, they sit together comfortably. Wenck has to co-sign the card for Harder’s young wife and congratulates the radiant young husband belatedly, who warmly invites his friend to come to the seaside resort after the race, where his wife is spending her summer vacation with a friend. Steppke also thinks of his Hilde, who surely waits faithfully for him. He has no idea that at this very moment, the dear girl is sitting on the express train and eating warm sausages with mustard in the compartment of a nice, elegant stranger. Hilde only finds out that the nice gentleman is General Manager Wagemann after she thoroughly praises her Mercedes and her Steppke, the famous racecar driver, whom she wants to visit in Freiburg.

Suddenly, in Freiburg, she finds herself as Wagemann’s substitute secretary, and Steppke doesn’t know whether he’s awake or dreaming when he sees his Hilde at the typewriter. Wagemann has his manager Brandt negotiate with Harder, and they succeed in signing the famous racecar driver for the Nürburg race. The Frenchman Ferron is the most dangerous opponent. But then Harder arrives! Will there be a new world record?

The racing car roars into the difficult track. Bad luck! Harder has an oil pipe break and has to drop out! Robert Wenck is ready to start. Soon, with a deafening roar of the compressor, the racing car disappears into the first turn. The audience listens in breathless suspense to the radio reporter. Now he’s past! He approaches the finish line! Hurray! Robert Wenck, the winner of the Freiburg hill climb! The whole city celebrates the winner.

Harder, called away by a telegram to Italy, asks Wenck to go ahead to the seaside resort to his wife. The mechanic’s ball is in full swing, especially when Wagemann and the racecar drivers arrive. Hilde is in her element, merry and funny as she presents her latest song. Everyone believes that she is really “like that,” only Steppke looks around angrily. A brawl is practically in the air, but Steppke’s anger eventually dissipates into a speech.

When Wenck enters the beach hotel where the Harders are staying, he sees a charming young girl in the vestibule. She calls her “Eva” and joyfully recognizes his old love, his sweet blonde Eva, with whom he was so happy, to whom he swore eternal loyalty, but whom he forgot in the turmoil of his sporting life. Immediately, the old love flares up again, and Robert finds that Eva has become even more beautiful and doesn’t want to let go of her hand. One minute later, he learns that Eva became Harder’s wife. Her husband has no idea about her previous relationship with Robert Wenck.

During a car ride, Robert and Eva are alone. When he looks into Eva’s eyes, he feels that the woman belongs to him, and in a long kiss, the lovers find each other. Kurt Harder has arrived. An old snapshot from two years ago reveals Robert’s relationship with Eva. The car ride for two says enough. The friends part from each other in anger and hatred.

The big race at the Nürburg-Ring begins! The clock hand is at 10. The racing cars start in a furious race. The blue car of the Italian is in the lead, closely followed by Wenck, then Harder. Wenck, determined and distraught, drives like a madman. He overtakes the Italian. Report from the carousel: Wenck is leading ahead of Harder. A great battle between Wenck and Harder! There! What’s happening!? Wenck crashed at full speed into the rock wall. Harder approaches, drives crazily into the curve. He jumps out of the car, wants to go to the scene of the accident, and pulls Wenck out of the burning car. The Italian takes the lead again. But Harder is still there. He catches up in a rapid pace and fights his way back to the leading Italian. Here they come! Harder is in front! Bravo Harder! Victory! Victory!

Kurt Harder stands by Wenck’s bed. Two friends look at each other, then Harder places Eva’s hand in the friend’s hand and quietly leaves again. Outside, the enthusiastic crowd awaits the winner.

L. H. E.’s review in Film Kurier No. 300 (December 21, 1932)
In this Manfred von Brauchitsch film, a thrilling sporting battle unfolds—a car race filled with fairness and camaraderie.

These sports films bring a breath of fresh air to the cinema, enriching its offerings. Following the cycling film Strich durch die Rechnung, we now have the exhilarating car racing film featuring the Avus winner.

It’s not just sports enthusiasts who applaud this film with great enthusiasm. Even non-sporty individuals find joy in it because it represents something new and unfamiliar, while also bringing a pleasantly human discovery: Manfred von Brauchitsch.

What is truly likable about him is his lack of ambition to become a star, a quality recognized by his director, Erich Schönfelder. Brauchitsch has been given a role that suits him, crafted by Dr. Wallner, Roswalt, Heinz Gordon, and Frank Arnau (based on an idea by Stoll). This role doesn’t restrict or confine him, and it doesn’t demand any exaggerated acting. He portrays a simple, kind-hearted person, the big boy he must be, someone who is internally humble and cultivated.

A love story intertwines with the racing narrative, discreetly woven between two thrilling races. Once again, Manfred von Brauchitsch impresses with his tact and sympathetic naturalness. Nothing feels forced with him.

This is what makes the film refreshing: it shows that we can also achieve the same carefree and boyish spirit found in American sports films.

The two major races in Freiburg (with a few beautiful city scenes) and on the Nürburg-Ring track are breathtaking and exciting. Von Brauchitsch’s superb driving skills are masterfully captured by the cameraman Willy Winterstein. The sound design (handled by the late Kagelmann) creates a symphony of roaring engines and whizzing machines.

Every moment is captivating and holds your attention—there’s never a dull moment. The car races are expertly edited, avoiding any repetitive sequences that would be expected in two races. There’s always something new to see, and the powerful machines, dominated by human hands, retain their captivating magic.

The story surrounding these two races delves into a male friendship that is almost shattered by a woman. The older racecar driver gives up when he realizes that the younger one is risking his life in the race.

Evelyn Holt, with her blonde and lovable persona, portrays this woman, while G. H. Schnell plays the rival who gives up in a simple, masculine manner.

Alongside this story, there are cheerful side elements. The comedy couple, portrayed by Kurt Vespermann and Blandine Ebinger, provides entertaining moments. Ebinger garners special applause with her fantastic, lighthearted, and witty performance of a drunkard’s song. (Marc Roland has skillfully composed the music, complementing Friedrich Schwarz’s clever lyrics.)

Alfred Abel, as noble as ever, Jessie Virog, Hubert von Meyrinck, Henry Lorenzen (from the catacombs), and Lia Eibenschütz are effectively utilized by Erich Schönfelder, who directs with pace and taste. Lucie Höflich appears briefly, and Josephine Dora, Hans Leibelt, and Dr. Paul Laven on the radio add to the ensemble. The sets were created by Herrmann and Günther.

Under the artistic overall direction of Haro van Peski and with production management by Stoll, the film receives resounding applause as a tribute to sportsmanship.