An appreciation of the Mike Hailwood film 'An Ordinary Hero' by Rowland White


The film trailer said it all - “Don’t miss this compelling portrait of motorcycle legend Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood”

Surely AN ORDINARY HERO must rank amongst the best sporting documentary films ever produced.  It had everything - sporting success of the highest level, heroism, romance, glamour, a happy family, a successful come-back and then in the end the tragedy that befell Mike and his beautiful daughter Michelle.

Pauline Hailwood was superb throughout the film, her unquestionable love for Mike coming through with a modesty equalled only by the great Mike himself. Her heartbreak in having to deal with the deaths of Mike and daughter Michelle came across in a way that those who had to deal with similar situations could well identify with - it was just her speaking from the heart.

The little cameo where Pauline related walking through the children’s departments in stores and seeing little frocks that Michelle might have worn no doubt brought tears to the eyes of many viewers. Not to mention her thoughts on what might have been Michelle’s future in terms of marrying and having a family of her own.

Mike’s son David related his own story in a very sincere way, especially about the time in his life when he ‘went astray’ and later returned home just like the prodigal son. It came across that he was clearly traumatised by the whole affair and found a void in life that took some time adjusting to.

Mike’s racing colleagues played important supporting roles in the film and were honest and  forthright with their comments.

Murray Walker, Jackie Stewart and Ted Macauley each brought their own interesting and personal contributions and again sincerity came through strongly.

The photography and use of archival footage was outstanding and credit must be given to Adam Darke and Jon Carey who produced and directed the film, Andrew White for his camera work and Damian Bradshaw, Director of Photography. The Executive Producer was Grant Best.

All in all a tremendous film.

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