The 1950 adventure film based on H. Rider Haggard's novel.
If you like fast cars and the roaring sound of, "VAROOOOM!" this is the movie for you. Or if you prefer soap opera romances and beautiful clothes, you, too, will like this movie. It opens with a bang on the picturesque streets of Monte Carlo, as the 1966 Grand Prix racers are bolting through town. We meet drivers from America, England, and France (James Garner, Brian Bedford, and Yves Montand) and follow their rivalry through the racing season. We also look behind the scenes at their love lives as they deal with conflicting feelings about racing.
This is an exciting and very enjoyable movie. Yves Montand never looked hunkier, even though he plays the oldest racer on the circuit. He's dreamy and so much better than his love interest, Eva Marie Saint, who is drab and dull and totally miscast as a fashionista. Brian Bedford, with his cute babyface and stiff-upper lip is memorable as a sensitive driver who never quite lived up to his famous brother. His love is well-played by kittenish Jessica Walter as a model with a roaming eye. On the down side, handsome James Garner isn't given much to do and his character is bland and uninspired. Many real Formula 1 drivers have minor parts and filming took place in several real Grand Prix races in various countries as well as the Ferrari racing factory.
The film comes in two discs and the Extras are quite interesting, featuring interviews with director and cast that were filmed in the nineties. We learn that the stars didn't use stunt drivers, but actually drove themselves at high speeds for close-ups. The special effects are impressive, done decades before CGI. Maurice Jarre's soundtrack is lovely (and sounds a lot like his "Lawrence of Arabia" and even a bit like "Dr. Zhivago").
This is a movie with something for everyone - high speed racing excitement, romance, and moments of personal reflection. The acting and direction are excellent. Highly recommended.
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