HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Weekend of a Champion Driving Ambition
Year: 1972
Director: Frank Simon, Roman Polanski
Stars: Jackie Stewart, Roman Polanski, Helen Stewart, Ken Tyrrell, Graham Hill, François Cevert, Ronnie Peterson, Prince Rainier III, Grace Kelly, Joan Collins, Ringo Starr, various
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix is being held today, but one of the leading drivers in the sport is not happy. He is Scottish competitor Jackie Stewart and as he makes his way to the streets by the harbour that have been converted, as always, into a racing track he casts a wary eye at the stormclouds gathering overhead and remarks to his wife Helen that the conditions could be treacherous by the looks of things. Nevertheless, he will persevere, and walks to his car among the adoring fans, waving to them as he goes. Is he right and will the weather prove too dangerous to compete in, or will he go on to another famous victory with the world championship within his grasp?

Well, it's a matter of record that Jackie Stewart was indeed World Champion of Formula 1 in 1971, but it can still be interesting looking back to see his methods for achieving that success. Hence Weekend of a Champion has been of great interest down the years, partly because of its scarcity for aside from a few cinema dates in Europe back in 1972, the best bet you had for catching it afterwards was the rare television broadcast. In fact, it was nearly lost forever but someone contacted director Roman Polanski to ask if he minded if the negative was destroyed in a warehouse clear out; he did mind, he minded very much, and rescued the film, recut it to make it brisker, and added a coda with himself and Stewart captured in Monaco forty years after the original documentary, in the very hotel room one of its most celebrated scenes took place.

What did Roman Polanski have to do with this, anyway? He and Stewart had become friends after the director became engrossed in motorsport, and this film was a way of reflecting that interest, though having been more adept at fiction he was less confident about factual filmmaking and hired former cinematographer turned director for hire Frank Simon to helm the camera. That said, it was still Polanski calling the shots since he was producer, so technically you could still call this part of his canon, and the camaraderie between him and Stewart was what buoyed the narrative, which could have been rather basic, as any number of other, formulaic motor racing documentaries would be. The action was of a fine quality, with trackside footage making up for a lack of clarity in precisely how the race was going, but what made Weekend of a Champion invaluable to fans and a path in to the sport for the casual viewer were those scenes of Stewart discussing his job.

There's no doubt about it, Stewart was a brilliant driver, but what was really brought home when watching was how lucky (or skilled) he was to emerge from the Formula 1 of the nineteen-sixties and -seventies with his life. Both he and Helen point out the danger involved in participating, the sobering statistic that they have lost five of their closest friends over the period Stewart had taken part one you're not likely to forget, and that number would only rise, sad to say: Frenchman François Cevert, a dashing playboy of the sport who Stewart mentored, is seen often in this, but would be dead in a couple of years. You can well understand why Stewart campaigned tirelessly for better road safety, not just in Grand Prix but for the public as well, he knew only too well the toll of the terrible tragedy that could occur. It was aspects like that which gave the film an edge, sure there was good humour and Stewart's charisma, but he made sure we never forgot this was often a deadly occupation. As an aside, elsewhere was the final big screen appearance of Grace Kelly, among other celebrity cameos.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2772 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Roman Polanski  (1933 - )

French-born Polish director who has been no stranger to tragedy - his mother died in a concentration camp, his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by the Manson family - or controversy - he was arrested for raping a 13-year-old girl in the late 1970s.

Polanski originally made an international impact with Knife in the Water, then left Poland to make Cul-de-Sac and Repulsion in Britain. More acclaim followed with Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown in Hollywood, but his work after escaping America has been inconsistent. At his best, he depicts the crueller side of humanity with a pitch black sense of humour. He also takes quirky acting roles occasionally.

Other films include Dance of the Vampires, adaptations of Macbeth and Tess, What?, The Tenant, dire comedy Pirates, thriller Frantic, the ridiculous Bitter Moon, Death and the Maiden and The Ninth Gate. He won an Oscar for directing Holocaust drama The Pianist, which he followed with an adaptation of Oliver Twist and political thriller The Ghost; he nearly did not complete the latter having been re-arrested on that rape charge. Next were adaptation of stage plays Carnage and Venus in Fur.

 
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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: