HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Slithis
Antonio Gaudi
   
 
Newest Articles
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
   
 
  Grand Prix It's got 'ere Grand Pricks!
Year: 1966
Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Toshirô Mifune, Brian Bedford, Jessica Walter, Antonio Sabato, Françoise Hardy, Adolfo Celi, Claude Dauphin, Enzo Fiermonte, Geneviève Page, Jack Watson, Donald O'Brien, Jean Michaud, Graham Hill, Phil Hill
Genre: Drama, ActionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: A Grand Prix motor race is taking place at Monte Carlo, and while the competitors speed around the track, the wife of one of them, Pat Stoddard (Jessica Walter) tries to get some rest and forget that her husband Scott (Brian Bedford) is in a car out there, risking his life. Meanwhile, on the track the American Pete Aron (James Garner) is having gearbox trouble, but his team's boss urges him to carry on anyway, something they will all regret. This is because Scott, his teammate, is currently winning and when he moves up the field to lap Aron, he cannot get by. Later Aron blames this on his mechanical failure, but the fact remains they both crash badly...

There's not only a competition in this film, but in the movie world as well to judge which is the finest racing film ever made, and often that contest will come down to two productions shot within five years of each other: Le Mans and Grand Prix. Steve McQueen starred in the former, and was supposed to star in the latter if the rumours are to be believed, but for whatever reason did not and set up his own racing effort later on. Although they are about different events, the two are often compared, mainly because of the authenticity that both feature, as McQueen and director John Frankenheimer were both fans of motorsports and wished to get the details just right.

In Grand Prix, which had a longer running time to contend with, you might expect most of it to consist of the vehicles going round and around at great velocity, presented as exctiingly as possible, yet while there is that aspect, quite a lot of it opted to delve into the psychology of what made racing drivers tick, and not exactly successfully. The four sportsmen that Frankenheimer focused on may have different personalities, but they share a certain loneliness of character that is brought out in their relationships with women, as for example we follow Garner's Aron as he gets close to Pat, but finds her guilt at leaving Scott too much to handle.

The most touching couple is the French driver played by Yves Montand and the magazine journalist played by Eva Marie Saint; these two manage to rise above the soap opera that blights the rest of the plot and get under the skin of how dangerous a profession they are dealing with. Montand's Sarti has his own tragedies to weigh up, yet still wishes to finish the season before he retires, and naturally he wants to win it too, but Saint's Louise begins to latch on to the demons which are haunting her new partner, which we perceive have already broken up his marriage to Monique (Geneviève Page). As Louise grows ever more fearful and critical of the crowds who turn out to watch a possible accident or death, she is only concerning herself with what Sarti is suffering every day.

Montand gives the best performance here, as a haunted but noble driver and the film might have been better to ditch the ensemble angle and concentrate on Sarti. After all, the way the film ends is notably depressing and more fitting with Sarti's disillusion with the Grand Prix than it is the supposed joy of winning the season, but as Scott determines to fight his way back from injury, and to some extent succeeds, and Aron struggles to find a new team after being dropped (we're not entirely sure that was unjustified), a mood of malaise settles that is at odds with the pulse pounding thrills of the track footage. That footage was captured as convincingly as it possibly could have been at the time, and the Saul Bass-assisted split screen effects of the Cinerama prove a genuinely satisfying and innovative way of putting across as much information about the racing as they possibly can without becoming confusing. It's simply that Grand Prix is not the celebration you might have thought; indeed, you'd be tempted to think that the filmmakers didn't like the sport at all on this evidence. Music by Maurice Jarre.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2844 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Frankenheimer  (1930 - 2002)

American director, from television, who really shone in the sixties with intelligent suspense movies and dramas like Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, The Train, Seven Days in May, Seconds and Grand Prix, but lost his touch from the seventies onward, with titles like The Iceman Cometh, 99 and 44/100% Dead, Black Sunday, Prophecy, The Holcroft Covenant, 52 Pick-Up, Dead Bang and The Island of Dr Moreau standing out, not always for the right reasons. Thriller Ronin was his swan song.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: