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 13.4 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 was a car-racing fanatic and owned a Porsche 908. Driving this car during the 12 Hours of Sebring's 1970 edition with professional driver Peter Revson, he finished a close second behind Mario Andretti, who was determined "not to be beaten by a movie star". Andretti was driving a Ferrari 512. McQueen also wanted to be in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but was denied permission by the film's producers. His Porsche eventually did participate, driven by Herbert Linge and Jonathan Williams, with three cameras to get "live" footage for the movie. Despite the spoiled aerodynamics and frequent stops to change film rolls, the car managed to finish ninth. According to a persistent rumor, McQueen may have driven it secretly after all. See more »
During the final laps, car number 21 can clearly be seen without a driver. See more »
A docu-drama, I guess, being heavy on the simple task of documenting the 1970 race in question. My recent viewing of the pan-and-scan VHS seems more involving that when I saw the James Garner flick "Grand Prix" in a Cinerama theater in the late 60's. The latter movie played up the personal drama too much and the superwide screen couldn't uncramp the camera angles on the city turns.
Although "Le Mans" isn't exactly "Casablanca" in that plotting is minimal (as usual from McQueen), it benefits from the believability of his stunt work and heavy use of car cameras. If you like going fast, this is the film for you.
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