Racing Movie Project: Grand Prix

grand prixMovie: Grand Prix

Year: 1966

Starring: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Toshiro Mifune, Brian Bedford, Jessica Walter

Plot: Grand Prix follows life on and off the track for a group of international drivers.

Rating: ⚐⚐⚐⚐ (out of 5)

My thoughts: For all my years as a race fan, this movie somehow eluded me. That is, until now.

Grand Prix is an epic — it’s about three hours long. If the same movie was made today, it would be an hour and 30 minutes, an hour and 45 minutes tops. But if the length of the movie is cut, then so are the extended racing sequences. And that is what makes this movie special. Grand Prix was a movie before its time. The racing action at Monaco is masterful and, in some ways, is unmatched today. There is no CGI. It is pure racing.

Some of my other thoughts about the movie:

  • Having watched F1 for a few years now, it was interesting to see some of the tracks they still run today. While Monaco has changed very little, courses like Spa have changed quite a bit. And I finally got to see some cars run on the high banks of Monza (which unfortunately would prove to be deadly). The lack of barriers and other safety features was jarring.
  • I loved the old cars, and not just the race cars. The Shell tanker and Ferrari transporter were fantastic. And I was practically drooling during Pete Aron’s visit to the Ferrari factory.
  • A movie with an overture? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before. But it worked. I found myself humming it throughout the movie. But I noticed that there was no music during the racing action. The engine noise was the only “music” necessary.
  • As an Arrested Development fan, I loved seeing Jessica Walter in this movie. But I kept waiting for her to ask for a vodka on the rocks. She’ll always be Lucille Bluth to me.

OK, race fans. What do YOU love about Grand Prix?

Next week: I’ll be heading back to NASCAR for Six Pack, Kenny Rogers’ feature film debut.

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