Almost in breadth and depth of a documentary, this movie depicts an auto race during the 70s on the world's hardest endurance course: Le Mans in France. The race goes over 24 hours on 14.5 ...
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Almost in breadth and depth of a documentary, this movie depicts an auto race during the 70s on the world's hardest endurance course: Le Mans in France. The race goes over 24 hours on 14.5 kilometers of cordoned country road. Every few hours the two drivers per car alternate - but it's still a challenge for concentration and material. In the focus is the duel between the German Stahler in Ferrari 512LM and the American Delaney in Gulf Team Porsche 917. Delaney is under extraordinary pressure, because the year before he caused a severe accident, in which his friend Lisa's husband was killed. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Steve McQueen had wanted to employ Christopher Chapman's new multi-dynamic image technique in the film, as had been done at his instigation with The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), in which he starred in 1968. Chapman advised against it, much to McQueen's disappointment; in Chapman's words, "it was much too big a film, with too many writers; it wouldn't work that way." See more »
In the scene describing the accident involving Delaney and Belgetti, the man talking with Belgetti's wife speaks Italian but pronounces her name with a hard "g", as an English-speaking person would. See more »
Still the most authentic motor racing movie ever made
One of my Christmas presents last year was a copy of Michael Keyser's book "A French Kiss With Death" about the making of this movie (I had to drop a BIG hint!). Having just finished the book I watched the movie again with a much greater understanding of how it came to be made and the problems which plagued its production.
It is probably extremely rare for a major feature film to have absolutely no script - not even an outline - and no female lead after two months of shooting, but that was indicative of the sort of movie McQueen was determined to make. The race IS the story, and the story of the race is very well told. McQueen's racing experience, his need to have credibility within the racing world and the large number of real racing drivers and real racing cars involved all add up to an authenticity which exceeded that of Frankenheimer's "Grand Prix" and which is still unequalled. A couple of minor errors in the cars' paint jobs fail to dampen the reality of the on-track action.
It is true that the off-track storyline is a little weak, and some of the performances are a bit hammy, but McQueen absolutely nailed the "feel" of the Le Mans race. For this reason it is many race fans' favourite movie. It's certainly mine .
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