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Grand Prix (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1966)

1 rating: 5.0
Action & Adventure and Drama movie directed by John Frankenheimer

Light on story, this 1966 spectacle directed by John Frankenheimer was shot in 70 millimeter, with a cinematically enthralling emphasis on unique, visceral new ways of capturing the sensations of a car race. James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, … see full wiki

Director: John Frankenheimer
Genre: Action, Drama, Adventure
1 review about Grand Prix (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1966)

So Good - The Incredible Racing Movie

  • Jun 21, 2009
Rating:
+5
This movie just begs to be on Blu-Ray - shot on 70mm panavision, this would be one incredible movie in high definition. The progression, sumptuous movie theater experience (in the 60's), crummy VHS, to Laserdisc, to DVD. I've seen them all. The DVD version to date, is the best ever. Sound-wise DVD is much better than the theater version, visually theater still wins.

The movie - pretty darn simple story about Grand Prix drivers during the 1966 F1 season. It's what you would expect, beautiful women chase handsome race car drivers. All set around the dangers of driving a race car in that era, death and injury. Four fabulous races are covered.

The best line of the movie - James Garner walks the absolutely stunning gorgeous Jessica Walter back to her hotel room. *Why do you all do that?* *What?* *Wear sunglasses on top of your head? You look ridiculous.*

The film is incredible from all possible angles. The director, John Frankenheimer did not invent split screen photography; but he made the best use of the technique in any film to that date. He worked very hard to make the racing feel real. Much of the footage is of real live F1 race from the 1966 season. He had all the actors learn how to drive race cars, so stunt doubles were not required. The only exception was Brian Bedford (he played Scott Stoddard) who could not learn how to drive. James Garner actually spent 2 months learning from Bob Bondurant. He also hired a big group of excellent F1 drivers of the era.

Pacing, it's a long film, nearly 3 hours. There is even an intermission, with music. The racing footage is spectacular. The romance story in between was just sort of OK.

The second disc is full of really great bonus features. The list is long and deep. Making of, interviews with Frankenheimer, race drivers, racing journalists, and a look at what F1 racing was like in that era. There's around 1.5 hours of material.

New to the movie - you have to remember in 1966, there was no ESPN, no in car cameras, and no high definition. Putting a camera on an F1 camera and seeing 150mph 6 inches above the ground, was revolutionary. None of us had ever seen anything like it. People also stood right next to the track with no barriers. There were no major sponsors on cars. And drivers got killed frequently - it was a very dangerous business.

Today, Father's Day 2009, I watched this movie. I'm reminded of the day my father took me to see this film - my first panavision film ever, and the reason I love racing so much. I was 9 years old, and was stunned by this film for weeks afterwards. Finding it on VHS a long time later, was just disappointing. The LaserDisc version was really nice. 4 Disc sides, really good sound, good picture. It was almost like the original theater version. Then this DVD came along, and I now own a really great surround system and large television. The original theater experience was very close.

It's just a darn great movie. This version is really nice. I can't wait for Blu-Ray.

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