Engaged To Death

February 14, 2019 | By Mike Seate

It’s not often we hear of classic motorcycle movies we’ve never seen or even heard of before. I’d written a book about the subject of two-wheelers in film way back in 2000,and I’d assumed “Two Wheels on Two Reels” was fairly comprehensive in its coverage. Ah, but there’s always more to learn and I found out recently when spending (yet another) grey, cold winter day searching the Internerd for a biker flick to absorb myself in. Somehow, I uncovered a rare gem of a movie, one that’s focused on European Grand Prix racing back in the 1950s. “Engaged To Death” is the English translation of “I fidanzati della morte” an Italian production that’s a truly amazing piece of work. The film centers on a fictional roadracer who, being a hot-blooded tye, forges his own road in his search of a winning ride. Filmed in some significant and beautiful locations around Italy, the shots of fast racing at the Monza circuit are goosebump-inducing, replete with grids full of classic Moto Guzzis and Nortons bedecked with hand-painted dustbin fairings. This being a mid-Century Italian drama, there’s loads of wacky, un-PC relationship guff, with racers openly cheating on their wives and occasionally slapping women around. If you can get past that, “I fidanzati della morte” is pretty rare for its realistic coverage of roadracing and the shots inside the old wind tunnel testing center at the Moto Guzzi factory- which I had the pleasure to tour a couple of years ago- was worth the price of the DVD itself. We hope to screen this baby at this August’s Reader’s Ride-In Custom Show, so watch this space for details. Ciao!