Grand Prix Reviews
Several of Frankenheimer films made in the 60s are rightly regarded as classics of there time and even his lesser works have plenty to keep most folks interested.
The story here is of course the lives and loves of several drivers competing in the F1 Grand Prix's.
James Garner is the American driver with a point to prove after causing a massive shunt at the start of the film .
Garner did most of his own driving and he really could of had a career as an F1 driver.
Yves Montard is great as the driver who ahs seen it all and just wants to survive and Brian Bedford plays the driver with a unfaithful wife and the shadow of his dead brother playing havoc with his career.
The truth is these domestic issues take away from the films best quality and that the racing consequences .
Even in todays real of CGI Frankenheimer and Saul Bass really give you a terrifying insight in to how deadly F1 was in the 60s
The Monza sequence alone is pretty hair raising and its to the directors credit that all the race featured feel different despite the fact its just cars going round a track.
Saul Bass works alongside the director and his montages add plenty of excitement to already heady mix of thrills and spills.
So if you can bypass some iffy script problems this one is a real podium finish .
Excellent racing scenes. Every race was seat-of-your-pants stuff. Nothing was predictable: by the time of the last race there were still several possibilities open to how the movie was going to end.
The last race was one of the more intense 15 minutes or so in cinema history. There was a huge feeling of impending doom, but you did not know for whom (or even that it was for only one person).
Great cinematography during the racing scenes. It was like being there. Plus you get to feel what it is like to be someone in the crowd, or in the pits, or in the press.
However, the non-racing scenes detract from the quality of the movie. Yes, they show the private lives of the racers and make them more human, but they aren't done very well. The non-racing stuff doesn't develop the characters much, even though with all that time spent (and it is a lot) you'd think it would.
In the end the non-racing stuff just feels like padding, blowing out the running time and making it boring in stretches.
Good performances from James Garner and Yves Montand. However, nobody else really measures up. Jessica Walter was unconvincing and Eva Marie Saint, for all her talent (thinking North By Northwest), just seems a bit spare. Francois Hardy does a decent job, and looks stunning doing it, but has little screen time, or impact on the movie.