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American Grand Prix driver Pete Aron is fired by his Jordan-BRM racing team after a crash at Monaco that injures his British teammate, Scott Stoddard. While Stoddard struggles to recover, Aron begins to drive for the Japanese Yamura team, and becomes romantically involved with Stoddard's estranged wife.Written by
Damian Penny <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The camera's shadow can be briefly seen on the racetrack as Scott and Pete duel wheel to wheel, passing and re-passing each other using drafting. See more »
Jordan says I was blocking Stoddard. Said I didn't give him a signal to pass.
Of course I did. The gear box froze coming out of the tunnel and I waved him through. Got on the brakes, locked up, and threw me in front of him. Next thing I knew, I was in the Mediterranean.
What are you going to do now?
I don't know. Gotta' get a ride for the rest of the season. I don't know where.
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I won't bore you with the plotline; you can get all that elsewhere. The main reason one should see this film is for the camera effects. And remember too -- these were all done the hard way; there was no computer imaging back in 1966!
If you get the chance to see this in a theater, DO NOT BE LATE!! The opening -- with the driver plugging his ears with cotton before putting on his helmet -- is aptly appropriate. The split-screen and multiple-image effects are first seen in the opening and crop up throughout the movie -- and always to good advantage, not just a "gee whiz, look what we can do" use of technique and technology. ESPN and the other networks, in their NASCAR telecasts, have just now started to adopt techniques first used by Frankenheimer 30-plus years ago.
One of the best scenes in the film is in the early minutes. You are actually *in* the cockpit of a F-1 car as it spins out of control, slides off the track, and launches itself into the harbor. I might add that this was *NOT* done with models, but used real, full-sized cars and took long hours to produce -- and these were truly "state-of-the-art" effects in 1966 (I won't give away the secrets here but will say that if you can locate a copy of the appropriate issue of "Popular Mechanics" [March 1966?] you will enjoy the article about the film and the techniques). The end result was about 15 seconds of some of the best racing footage committed to film. Needless to say, this is a very quick-running sequence!
I saw this picture in Cinerama in 1966, and I too echo the sentiment for a re-release of this picture to the large screen. More is the pity that Cinerama is no more. There are few pictures where Cinerama could be used to its fullest advantage; the in-car and on-track sequences of this film, however, were some of those.
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