Monday, July 17, 2006

CinemathiQ: Grand Prix

John Frankenheimer, 1966

The thing is, I don't even care about racing. F1 is boring, NASCAR is hideous, everything else is just pathetic in its futile struggle for relevance. And this is not coming from some crotchety old-timer going on about how much better things were in his day. No. The shit that I'm into was over before I was born.

That this movie was made at all is shocking; that it was made at the absolute perfect instant in the hundred-year history of motor racing is just ridiculous luck. Neither the cars — pre-wings, pre-sponsors — nor the drivers — Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren, Phil Hill, et al. — were ever cooler than they were during the 1966 F1 season, and Frankenheimer shows us everything. When Yves Montand's fictional Jean-Pierre Sarti enters a gala party after winning Monaco, he is accompanied in the frame by the real, corporeal, unmistakable Fangio, toweringly regal despite his unassuming and seemingly bemused deference. Fucking Fangio! And the racing footage just defies belief.

The plot is pure soap opera, but seriously, who gives a shit?

If you haven't seen it, see it. If, like me, you haven't seen it in fifteen years, get the DVD. It's even better than you remember. It'll take your head off. (Marty, yours is in the mail.)

Click on the pic to get yerself a copy!


Blogger Davis Chino said...

PEET! (Ye bastard!)

I am very excited! But can I ask you one thing....

"Pete, do you ever get tired--of the driving?"

9:58 AM  

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