The story tells about the confrontation of four first-class racers of Formula 1. Each of the competitors had their own additional motivation to become a champion. Their world is a risk and extreme, fast driving on the highway. The taste of adrenaline is what race lovers live. Outside of competition, they all experience personal dramas and upheavals, and the more important the desired title becomes for them.
Frankenheimer's F1 Epic is Grand in Itself.
In truth the plot of Grand Prix is pretty wafer thin, with not enough story to fully justify the gargantuan run time, yet it's both thrilling and fascinating all the same. Plot essentially centers around the 1966 Formula 1 motor racing championship, with James Garner, Yves Montand, Brian Bedford, Eva Marie Saint and Toshiro Mifune heading up the large ensemble cast list. It deals with the trials and tribulations of the drivers, both on and off the track.
The human drama is a bit soapy, of which there is much, yet these narrative characterisations help to make us care and understand the protagonists at the core of the story. And of course when the drivers are out there on the track, we know their psychological make-ups, their driving mirroring their motives and emotional fortitude.
The racing segments are superbly filmed by Frankenheimer, with multi-angles used to maximise the experience, while he also uses split screen sections to fully immerse us with the key characters. Two crash sequences are genuinely heart stopping, filmed with a clarity that makes us realise that people actually do die in this sport. While the sound work and editing is quite simply stunning.
See it on the biggest screen you can, and for home formats get the best possible disc available. 8/10
Cherokee Productions, Douglas & Lewis Productions, Joel Productions, John Frankenheimer Productions Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by John Frankenheimer, Robert Alan Aurthur, William Hanley.
Stars: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Toshirô Mifune.
Genres: Drama, Sport
Keywords: car race racing car 1960s formula one motorsport
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