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Best and worst racing movies


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#101 Martin Roessler

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 09:24

just watching smash palace (nz 1981) and not far into the movie there is the start of a race (formula pacific i suppose ,as somebody mentionned before ) with a horrific crash....
now in the movie the commentator on tv is talking about the first heat :lol: ot the f1 race in long beach (neither does the track look anything like long beach to me , nor do the cars look like f1 cars :rolleyes: )
does anybody have any info about the year/race/track and driver involved ?
can't live without knowing that...
cheers marty

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#102 275 GTB-4

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 10:28

Originally posted by Martin Roessler
just watching smash palace (nz 1981) and not far into the movie there is the start of a race (formula pacific i suppose ,as somebody mentionned before ) with a horrific crash....
now in the movie the commentator on tv is talking about the first heat :lol: ot the f1 race in long beach (neither does the track look anything like long beach to me , nor do the cars look like f1 cars :rolleyes: )
does anybody have any info about the year/race/track and driver involved ?
can't live without knowing that...
cheers marty


You winding us up Martin?? Longbeach California most likely :)

#103 Lola5000

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 10:40

've got a copy of Winning,good movie with Newman,Wagner and Woodward.Indy cars,sports cars and Nascar.

#104 Martin Roessler

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 11:20

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4


You winding us up Martin?? Longbeach California most likely :)


*gulp* :blush: :rolleyes:
...the dvd actually has audio commentary of rodger donaldson and..... steve millen.
didn't read the thread propery...sowwy
at least i can sleep tonight...i really thought the driver didn't survive that crash.
cheers marty

#105 markpde

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 22:37

Originally posted by FredF1
There's also 'Checkpoint' with Stanley Baker - 1957. A lot of shennanigans about stolen auto blueprints and skullduggery - some nice sportscar footage of a 'Mille Miglia' type of race though. Don't know what makes of cars were used though.

'Checkpoint' was shown on one of the two (I think) through-the-night programmes on Channel 4 some years ago called 'Petrolheads', featuring discussion and film footage and hosted by Alain de Cadenet, with Doug Nye, Nigel Roebuck, Stirling Moss, Richard Williams and others (who else on here remembers the programmes (apart from Doug, of course!)?). They showed fabulous footage of the 1955 Dunrod TT; Doug also told his chilling story about the Star of David discovered scribed on the body of an Auto Union carburettor.

I recorded the programmes on a VCR and may still have them; 'Checkpoint' was shown last on one of the programmes and featured the actual Aston Martin works team cars on some of the Mille Miglia course, except the footage was fictional. There's a scene where one of the Astons stops to refuel and none other than John Wyer himself, wearing a bomber jacket and a baseball cap, has a cameo role - he has to 'escort' the stroppy female love interest out of the way - the old boy always knew how to delegate responsibility...

Just before the end of the film, the villain, Stanley Baker, is in the passenger seat of one of the Astons, holding a gun to Anthony Steel's head - they wrestle... the Aston goes flying over the edge of a cliff... I was off to bed by this time, I was recording it on a long-play video tape and I swear on my mother's life the tape ran out with them hanging in mid-air - never did find out what happened! :D

#106 Barry Boor

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 23:05

Actually, they are still there.... :)

#107 markpde

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 23:37

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Actually, they are still there.... :)

Suspended in time! :lol:

#108 sandy

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:06

Originally posted by Graham Clayton
Another late 60's NASCAR-based film featuring Annette Funicello without Frankie Avalon:

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related


It is Sunday in Melbourne and on Channel 7 this morning there was the movie, as above, "Thunder Alley". Some times bad movies can be quite enjoyable, if they are bad enough, but this one was so truly dreadful it was unwatchable.

#109 sandy

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:30

Originally posted by markpde


Just before the end of the film, the villain, Stanley Baker, is in the passenger seat of one of the Astons, holding a gun to Anthony Steel's head - they wrestle... the Aston goes flying over the edge of a cliff... I was off to bed by this time, I was recording it on a long-play video tape and I swear on my mother's life the tape ran out with them hanging in mid-air - never did find out what happened! :D


What happens is that Baker and the car fall on top of the villainous James Robertson Justice who, inexplicably, happens to have just gone ashore from his boat at the exact place where the car falls. The rest of the film consists of a rapid tying up of loose ends. I am intrigued however by the necklace or neck band that Anthony Steel (or is it Steele?) wears. I cannot recall anyone in that era wearing such a thing. Were they in common usage at the time? There are some terrific shots of the 1956 Mille Miglia incorporated into the film.

#110 markpde

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 13:36

Originally posted by sandy


What happens is that Baker and the car fall on top of the villainous James Robertson Justice who, inexplicably, happens to have just gone ashore from his boat at the exact place where the car falls. The rest of the film consists of a rapid tying up of loose ends. I am intrigued however by the necklace or neck band that Anthony Steel (or is it Steele?) wears. I cannot recall anyone in that era wearing such a thing. Were they in common usage at the time? There are some terrific shots of the 1956 Mille Miglia incorporated into the film.

Thanks. :up: Have to confess, I've seen it since (although only recently), but that would have spoiled the story! They were hanging in mid-air for quite a few years, anyway (and always will be, in that video tape, if I ever find it). Would be interesting to see the film again (as with Steve McQueen's 'Le Mans'), to try to figure out which shots were from the actual 1956 Mille Miglia and which were just shot for the movie, but the Astons were authentic. Curiously, I have John Wyer's autobiography, 'The Certain Sound', and although he covers the team's involvement in the Mille Miglias extensively, he makes no mention of the film.

As for Anthony Steel's necklace / neck band, that was peculiar - I'm sure it wasn't the fashion in Australia at the time...;)

#111 Simpson RX1

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 15:54

Originally posted by Glengavel


Ah-ha! Armed with that information, a quick trip to IMDB reveals that the title was..."Driving Ambition"! Which still doesn't ring any bells. It must have been truly forgettable.


Don't think it was "Driving Ambition", that was a series about a downtrodden housewife who takes up circuit racing to prove that she's not just about doing the washing up.

Her mentor was played by Gavin Richards, who later went on to play the Italian Captain in "Allo Allo" and spent a few years in "Eastenders"; his character (Ken Lark) was a backstreet garage owner who'd built a racing car and it featured prominantly in the series, I believe it was a Modsaloon Mini built by Mini guru Richard Longman. It was actually quite a good series and I believe I have some, if not all of it on tape somewhere.

I do have vague memories of the programme you mentioned, but I'm 99% certain it wasn't "Driving Ambition".

Back on the movie track, a few years ago I saw a film called "Checkered Flag" (sic) that was shockingly awful; it had all the hallmarks of a 'straight to video' release and featured a plot line so thin as to be one dimensional, plus hideous swathes of speeded up footage and a totally incredible chase sequence, involving a stock chopper style Harley keeping up with a full on sports car of some description.

#112 anbeck

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 18:07

I don't remember a racing movie that is good as a film. I like Grand Prix very much, and
Le Mans would be good as a documentary (I wish McQueen had it cut as a doc), but it is a catastrophe as a film! There's no character development whatsoever, there's McQueen, but we learn nada about the other characters. Okay, there's this guy who wants to quit racing (in racing movies, this is usually a big hint that he'll die before the end of the flic), but nothing that merits the word 'character'.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE to see race cars in action, and Grand Prix and Le Mans are full of footage that I adore, but that doesn't make a film.

I am dreaming about another thing: I think there's a lot of artistic freedom in the new TV-Series. You may love it or hate it, but series such as Lost have changed the way TV-Series are conceptualized. I like West Wing, for example (only on DVD, unless I am mistaken I haven't seen it on TV neither in France nor Germany - TVs still for dumb people, I guess, the channels haven't understood that you can do something with value) .
So my dream is a series that is set in the 60s with a team such as Rob Walkers team. You have a little group of main characters (team owner, head mechanic, drivers, some other secondary characters from other teams) and there are HUNDREDS of great anecdotes from the 60s that are just waiting to be put into a piece of racing fiction.
Make it an F1 team or IndyCar or even anything else, but I think that would have some enormous potential, combining the 50 minute series suspense with the possibility to develop story arcs and characters over a whole season (in both senses).

a.

#113 doc knutsen

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 20:00

Many moons ago, when I ran my ex-Enderby Maguire Stilletto, I seem to remember a TV series centered around Wendy Wools Special saloons being screened in the UK. Does anybody know anything about this TV series?
It must have been mentioned in Autosport. Did it feature any worthwhile racing footage? IIrc it was centered around a feller who ran a Vauxhall Firenza special saloon, but his name escapes me. Anyone?

#114 Simpson RX1

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 22:39

Originally posted by doc knutsen
Many moons ago, when I ran my ex-Enderby Maguire Stilletto, I seem to remember a TV series centered around Wendy Wools Special saloons being screened in the UK. Does anybody know anything about this TV series?
It must have been mentioned in Autosport. Did it feature any worthwhile racing footage? IIrc it was centered around a feller who ran a Vauxhall Firenza special saloon, but his name escapes me. Anyone?


Now that is the programme I talked about earlier, "Driving Ambition".

The more I've thought about it, the more I've remembered; the bad guy (Alan Hearshner) was played by Nicky Henson and was a gold encrusted playboy type that ran a Baby Bertha style clone.

It was screened here in 1984 and, to my knowledge, was never repeated.

Oh, and as I recall, the racing footage wasn't that great and most of it was staged; I can't find the bits I had on tape, but if memory serves, most of the exterior shots were at a clearly deserted circuit (Brands perhaps) and the in car stuff was either back projected or done with a camera dolly.

#115 Glengavel

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 22:40

Originally posted by Simpson RX1


Don't think it was "Driving Ambition", that was a series about a downtrodden housewife who takes up circuit racing to prove that she's not just about doing the washing up.

Her mentor was played by Gavin Richards, who later went on to play the Italian Captain in "Allo Allo" and spent a few years in "Eastenders"; his character (Ken Lark) was a backstreet garage owner who'd built a racing car and it featured prominantly in the series, I believe it was a Modsaloon Mini built by Mini guru Richard Longman. It was actually quite a good series and I believe I have some, if not all of it on tape somewhere.

I do have vague memories of the programme you mentioned, but I'm 99% certain it wasn't "Driving Ambition".


I'm now 99% certain it was! Certainly the programme I remember did have a woman who wanted to be a rally driver, much to the disgust of her husband. And I remember Gavin Richard's character. As I mentioned earlier, there was too much 'soap' and not enough motoring action. IMO, that is.

#116 Simpson RX1

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 22:51

See above.

I'm sure the programme about the rally driver featured a young lad with genius like gifts and, as mentioned by another poster, featured a 6R4 and an Ascona 400.

To settle the argument, I'll call a mate of mine tomorrow, I know he has all of "Driving Ambition" taped, but I'd almost put my mortgage on the two being different series, "DA" was the racing one.

Edit: just did some web searching and there's not much about "DA", but the timeline for a rally series featuring a 6R4 would be wrong; "DA" was shown in March 1984 (so probably filmed during 1983), the 6R4 wasn't seen in public until February 1984 and spent the rest of the year being developed, so I doubt there would any competition footage until 1985, a year after "Driving Ambition" was shown.

#117 Simpson RX1

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 23:59

Further to the above, the more I look, the more there is to be found.

Loads of links to various 10 tenths threads about "Driving Ambition" a series based around the Wendy Wools race series, with the action centering around a Firenza and Peter Baldwin's BDA Mini (I knew it was one of those Mini blokes!); now I think of it, there's a scene where they take the front end off and there's a pair of twin choke Webers staring at you, not your average A series!

There's even a posting from someone who has a programme from a Wendy Wools meeting, where they mention that some filming will be done for a forthcoming TV show called "Driving Ambition".

So, now we've cleared that up, what was the name of that show about the rally driver?????

#118 markpde

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 00:21

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
So, now we've cleared that up, what was the name of that show about the rally driver?????

I believe it was called "The Winning Streak" (presumably about a nude rally driver :confused: ), but I don't remember it, so that's all I know. :)

#119 Simpson RX1

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 00:40

Originally posted by markpde

I believe it was called "The Winning Streak" (presumably about a nude rally driver :confused: ), but I don't remember it, so that's all I know. :)


That's the one, and it seems there's not much to remember!

Three episode mini series, screened here in September 1985, featuring the (very short) life and times of a family garage business and their forays into rallying, never repeated.

Cheers Mark, if, for nothing else, proving that I'm not going totally mad! :clap:

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#120 markpde

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:17

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
Cheers Mark, if, for nothing else, proving that I'm not going totally mad! :clap:

Know the feeling! :lol:

#121 Glengavel

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 07:47

I'm now totally confused! The porridge in my skull, masquerading as a brain, has obviously merged two TV series into one.

Now, does anyone remember a film called "Le Grand Chequered Helmet", with Eve-Marie Saint and Steve McQueen winning the Mille Miglia in a BRM?

#122 anbeck

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 12:44

At least the imdb doesn't remember any film starring both of them.

#123 markpde

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 15:30

Originally posted by Glengavel
Now, does anyone remember a film called "Le Grand Chequered Helmet", with Eve-Marie Saint and Steve McQueen winning the Mille Miglia in a BRM?

:up: :rotfl:

(Alright, alright, so I Googled it. :o I even Googled it again after I thought, "Och, it would be an American movie - 'Chequered' would be spelled 'Checkered'..." Still wasn't there... :rolleyes: :lol: )

#124 markpde

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 15:56

Originally posted by anbeck
So my dream is a series that is set in the 60s with a team such as Rob Walkers team. You have a little group of main characters (team owner, head mechanic, drivers, some other secondary characters from other teams) and there are HUNDREDS of great anecdotes from the 60s that are just waiting to be put into a piece of racing fiction.

a.

That's quite a dream, André. It would perhaps just take some enterprising motor racing scribe to spread his wings and write a novel, strictly and authentically based on the facts, even though it was pure fiction, then for the novel to be presented as the basis for a TV series. It would be a leap of faith for it to happen, but excellent if it came about - everything has to start somewhere.

Also, it's surely just been a question of time (and the development of film technology) before there could be a drama-documentary or a movie based on the Auto Union and Mercedes Grand Prix teams of the thirties, especially if it centred around (the life and times of) Bernd Rosemeyer. Audi has built its replicas, and the Mercedes, Alfas and the rest are still around, so the 'hardware' is there, and CGI would do the rest - think of the effects in 'Pearl Harbor', for example. The story of Rosemeyer and Elly Beinhorn was an epic love story, where fact eclipsed whatever fiction could conjure up, and their lives were like a movie. Can't think offhand who they would get to play Rosemeyer (suggestions?!) but the actress Alexandra Maria Lara, who played Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge in 'Downfall', bears a striking resemblance in some ways to Elly. Maybe some day, eh?

#125 anbeck

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 17:35

Originally posted by markpde

:up: :rotfl:

(Alright, alright, so I Googled it - just in case... I even Googled it again after I thought, "Och, it would be an American movie - 'Chequered' would be spelled 'Checkered'..." Still wasn't there... :rolleyes: :lol: )



Ahhhhhhh, it was a joke??? :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

@markpde: I don't know if novels are a good basis for
Of course, a good novel can be made into a good film, but to be able to profit of the special features of both, I would directly see it as a TV-Series.
Well, if we get some conspiracy in it, J.J. Abrams might be persuaded!

#126 doc knutsen

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 22:15

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
Further to the above, the more I look, the more there is to be found.

Loads of links to various 10 tenths threads about "Driving Ambition" a series based around the Wendy Wools race series, with the action centering around a Firenza and Peter Baldwin's BDA Mini (I knew it was one of those Mini blokes!); now I think of it, there's a scene where they take the front end off and there's a pair of twin choke Webers staring at you, not your average A series!


What lovely memories! Baldwin' space frame job featured a 1300BDH, as you pointed out, hardly the ole' five-porter A-series job slightly warmed over with a pair of HS4s ;)

David Enderby's Karmann Ghia was, eventually, similarly powered after the Clive Brown Imp engines that used to power the Tiga SC79 chassis. While the BDH sported 190BHP, it apparently had no more torque than the 998 Imp mit R23 cam...in other words, not a great deal.

Ah, the Wendy Wools series...not exactly Formula Single Make with Road Tyres.

#127 Simpson RX1

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 23:29

Originally posted by doc knutsen


What lovely memories! Baldwin' space frame job featured a 1300BDH, as you pointed out, hardly the ole' five-porter A-series job slightly warmed over with a pair of HS4s ;)

David Enderby's Karmann Ghia was, eventually, similarly powered after the Clive Brown Imp engines that used to power the Tiga SC79 chassis. While the BDH sported 190BHP, it apparently had no more torque than the 998 Imp mit R23 cam...in other words, not a great deal.

Ah, the Wendy Wools series...not exactly Formula One Make with Road Tyres.


Totally OT, but I loved the Wendy Wools cars, and the series that became the natural successor, Thundersaloons.

Throughout my early years as a driver, I was a Ford man, specifically a 3 litre Capri nut.

I once found myself with an immaculate DAF 55 with a knackered clutch and a mechanically perfect, but bodily lacking V6 Capri; inspired by those racers, I spent a lot of time with a tape measure and even more time offering up various large bits of metal, in an effort to try and marry the two, until other things got in the way and the DAF went to the great scrap yard in the sky.

I was planning to make the DAF look as standard as possible, just to witness the look on a few hotshot driver's faces at the traffic light GP!

#128 Glengavel

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 11:44

Originally posted by anbeck



Ahhhhhhh, it was a joke??? :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:


It's no joke! McQueen plays a charismatic thief (Sterling Morse) who breaks out of a high-security jail in Rome and hopes to escape to Switzerland by stealing a car. Unfortunately the car he steals is due to be entered in the revised Mille Miglia by James Robertson Justice's BRM racing team; however the driver (cameo by Graham Hill) has been knobbled by a dastardly German team (played by Anton Diffring and Derren Nesbitt) and McQueen is persuaded by Justice's daughter, glamorous racing correspondent Denise Jenkins (Eve-Marie Saint), to take his place. Orson Welles agreed to direct, as he needed the money to fund his sherry commercials. Filming was hampered by having the location shots set in Monument Valley and having replica sports cars built on the chassis of a job-lot of obsolete Indycar roadsters (which had been mothballed in the vain hope that rear-engined cars would eventually be banned). Unfortunately the master print of the finished film disappeared in the US postal system when it was sent to the processing laboratory. A sad loss.

#129 Terry Walker

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 14:18

Monument Valley proved to be an unconvincing double for central Italy, specially as The Mittens featured so prominently. Eva-Marie Saint wasn't bad, though.

#130 hardy

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 14:58

I can recall, a really crappy film, starring that Dwaft among Midgets "Mickey Roonie", all I can remember, are some in studio shots of the undersized person, in a "racing car" (I think it is on fire) supposedly hurtling around an American race track, If you fail to remember it, I wouldn't lose any sleep

#131 Adler

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 15:18

L'ultimo incontro (the last meeting) - ITA 1951

http://italian.imdb....itle/tt0044162/

a italian sentimental movie with the actors Amedeo Nazzari, Alida valli, Jean-Pierre Aumont

played in Monza with F1 cars and collaboration of Squadra Corse Alfa Romeo and drivers: Bonetti, Fagioli, Fangio, Farina, Sanesi, Stuck.

Posted Image
Poster 1

Posted Image
Poster 2

Posted Image
Amedeo Nazzari - Jean-Pierre Aumont and the Alfetta 159

ciao
Adler

#132 RA Historian

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 15:34

Originally posted by hardy
I can recall, a really crappy film, starring that Dwaft among Midgets "Mickey Roonie", all I can remember, are some in studio shots of the undersized person, in a "racing car" (I think it is on fire) supposedly hurtling around an American race track, If you fail to remember it, I wouldn't lose any sleep

Mickey Rooney in "The Big Wheel", and yes, it did involve midget racing among others!
Tom

#133 markpde

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 17:17

Originally posted by Glengavel


It's no joke! McQueen plays a charismatic thief (Sterling Morse) who breaks out of a high-security jail in Rome and hopes to escape to Switzerland by stealing a car. Unfortunately the car he steals is due to be entered in the revised Mille Miglia by James Robertson Justice's BRM racing team; however the driver (cameo by Graham Hill) has been knobbled by a dastardly German team (played by Anton Diffring and Derren Nesbitt) and McQueen is persuaded by Justice's daughter, glamorous racing correspondent Denise Jenkins (Eve-Marie Saint), to take his place. Orson Welles agreed to direct, as he needed the money to fund his sherry commercials. Filming was hampered by having the location shots set in Monument Valley and having replica sports cars built on the chassis of a job-lot of obsolete Indycar roadsters (which had been mothballed in the vain hope that rear-engined cars would eventually be banned). Unfortunately the master print of the finished film disappeared in the US postal system when it was sent to the processing laboratory. A sad loss.

Remember the scene where Denise Jenkins (Eva-Marie Saint) is disguised as a man - with glasses and a long beard? Never found that very convincing, myself... :lol:

#134 Barry Boor

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 17:22

I thought I had seen this film available on VDV. :cool:

#135 Glengavel

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 17:23

Originally posted by markpde

Remember the scene where Denise Jenkins (Eva-Marie Saint) is disguised as a man - with glasses and a long beard? Never found that very convincing, myself... :lol:


Yes, sitting there with a box of tissues on her lap to keep her make-up in order.

#136 P. Dron

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 18:00

The Last Time I saw Paris (1954) must be one of the funniest films ever made, though not intentionally. Van Johnson, an actor who was adequate in minor roles (preferably without speaking much) plays the male lead as a neurotic/romantic artist who also races cars. The highlight of the movie is the scene in which a full grid of sports cars is flagged away from the harbour-front in Monaco. Instead of going up the hill into Casino Square, as one would expect, they head off towards the finish line...in Paris. And no - it is not set in 1903, but in the early 1950s. There are plenty of hilariously speeded-up sequences and studio-based in-car shots. I almost cried with laughter.

#137 markpde

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 19:33

Originally posted by Glengavel


Yes, sitting there with a box of tissues on her lap to keep her make-up in order.

I expect they cut the scene where she loses her breakfast, along with her glasses (and maybe even the false beard), over her shoulder... :)

#138 markpde

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 19:36

Has anyone seen 'A Fast Drive In The Country' - a history of the Le Mans 24 Hour Race, presented and narrated by the actor James Coburn? It's dated 1976, and AFAIK it features cars from the Le Mans museum - including (I think) the museum's Porsche 917 Longtail - although I'm not sure about that (maybe just wishful thinking!). I've only ever heard about the film, never seen it, although it's been shown on ITV in the UK, but probably not for a very long time. I've Googled it, but haven't found much info.

#139 TrackDog

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 22:18

Originally posted by RA Historian
Mickey Rooney in "The Big Wheel", and yes, it did involve midget racing among others!
Tom


By modern cinematic standards I guess this film would be considered to be pretty much of a joke; but for a period piece it's actually pretty interesting, if nothing else. The highlight for me has to be the last half-hour or so, which is devoted to the running of the 1949 Indianapolis 500; the details are very interesting...the film features the only footage I've ever seen of the Rounds Rocket, an Auto Union clone that sadly didn't make the race, and only appeared at the Speedway during that year. An Alfa driven by 1951 winner Lee Wallard is actually the featured car in the movie, and Wallard led for several laps in 1949...the Duke Nalon crash is also prominently displayed, as is the 1939 crash that resulted in the death of Floyd Roberts; and add in the spectacular 1939 spin that ended Louis Meyer's career [ you can see him get thrown out of the car and jump up and run across the track...]. Also, there's a very brief sequence of Bill Holland on his victory lap.

For the history buffs, this is a nice movie to have...but it IS a projection piece, none of the stars even went to the track, as I understand it. As for Rooney, he was so short that he never really got much of a break as an actor, which is really too bad, because he was good at his craft and deserved better. He really didn't age very well, and that was another detriment to his career...he looked like an old kid...he looks a little old to me in this movie, but a lot of drivers in those days aged rather quickly.

An interesting aside that may have been mentioned before here, Michael O'Shea, who played Reno's driver, was married to Virginia Mayo, who was the beauty queen in 1956.



Dan

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#140 canon1753

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 22:34

Truth in 24 had a good review in Autoweek, and I am looking forward to seeing it. Its by Audi PR and NFL films (who do great work actually).

#141 fines

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 15:40

Originally posted by TrackDog
For the history buffs, this is a nice movie to have...

That was the thinking behind my buying the "Crowd Roars" DVD, but as mentioned here previously, I was utterly disappointed. Can you compare the flicks, is "The Big Wheel" better in that regard?

#142 RStock

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 17:03

Originally posted by fines

That was the thinking behind my buying the "Crowd Roars" DVD, but as mentioned here previously, I was utterly disappointed. Can you compare the flicks, is "The Big Wheel" better in that regard?


Perhaps there should be a rating system for this thread , with Grand Prix being the gold standard , say a 10 , and Drivel...I mean Driven being the lowest , or a 0 .

It's been awhile since I've seen "The Big Wheel" , but I don't remember it being so bad , as far as racing movies go . I'd rate it about a 4 1/2 on the Drivel to Grand Prix scale .

I thought I had mentioned this one , but I didn't see it . I thought "Heart like a Wheel" , the story of drag racer Shirley Muldowney was a good one . It shows the ups and downs many racers go through in their home life as well as on the track . Not a bad little movie . I'd rate it a 9 1/2 on the scale .

#143 TrackDog

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 20:21

Originally posted by fines

That was the thinking behind my buying the "Crowd Roars" DVD, but as mentioned here previously, I was utterly disappointed. Can you compare the flicks, is "The Big Wheel" better in that regard?


It depends on which version of THE BIG WHEEL you're referring to...the movie was originally released in 1932 with Jimmy Cagney and Joan Blondell; then it was redone in 1939 with Pat O'Brien and Ann Sothern. Somehow, there are several scenes in both versions that came from both releases...some footage is the same in both, and some from the 1939 release made it's way into the 1932 film, like a 1939 Mercury ambulance in a 1932 movie, and some scenes from the 1937 race in the same 1932 film...confusing all the way around, to say the least.

The best part of the 1932 film is the cameos featuring Harry Hartz, Fred Frame and Billy Arnold...Shorty Cantlon and Louis Schneider also appear, with Schneider poking fun at himself in a diner scene. For me, these scenes make the movie priceless...those drivers from the early '30's were every bit as photogenic, articulate and as PR-minded as Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon and Rick Mears are today.

The racing scenes were, for the most part, staged...you can see the trees in the background in the racing scenes at Indy didn't have any leaves on them. Howard Hawks was an avid racer, so he tried to make the racing scenes authentic...there are a few scenes where the film has been sped up, but they're few and far between.

The 1939 film doesn't have any cameos; no established drivers took part in that production, and the whole thing seems contrived and trite...Pat O'Brien was good as Knute Rockne, but he's no racer. And, by 1939 there were no more 2-man cars, hadn't been for 2 years...but, this movie wouldn't have worked with the one-seaters, because it's all about the brothers working together.

For the historian, I'd say that both are good additions to the library. In THE CROWD ROARS,you get to see BILLY ARNOLD, FRED FRAME and HARRY HARTZ act; even if they're probably just being themselves, it's good stuff. And, it's a pretty good effort for a 1932 film...the film industry had certainly come a long way by 1949, and it shows in THE BIG WHEEL.

There's more racing in THE BIG WHEEL, from Culver City to Indy...

Bottom line, both are realistic stories...THE BIG WHEEL is a little more viewer-friendly; Rooney isn't as manic as Cagney, and the cast is made up of more sympathetic characters. Both have a lot of period footage, with THE CROWD ROARS having more involvement from real-life racing personalities. Bill Holland was livid when he saw THE BIG WHEEL because he didn't give anyone permission to use his name in the film...he wanted to sue, but his lawyers convinced him that the writers made him out to be such a nice guy and good sport in the film that he would be damaging his reputation severely by challenging them.

If you haven't seen THE BIG WHEEL, I'd recommend it. The last half-hour is devoted to the Month Of May in Indianapolis, ca. 1949. Good stuff!


Dan


Overall, there's a little more plausible plot in THE BIG WHEEL...there's some nice music with Lina Romay, and a cute scene with Hattie McDaniel and the father of Billy Coy's girlfriend as he gives his tomboy daughter a new dress for her first big date with Billy. THE CROWD ROARS deals with the fear Joe Greer is afraid to face, that all drivers back in the day probably had to deal with, that his brother doesn't seem to be affected by...it's something that's put on display, but never really resolved...Joe finally lets people into his life after a downward spiral following the death of a fellow driver he feels responsible for and reconciles with his brother after they win Indy together. The fear is forgotten after the win, and the movie feels unfinished to me because of that.

THE BIG WHEEL is rather more like RUDY with racecars, ROCKY on wheels...a simpler story, maybe; the level of plausibility might be in the eye of the viewer. It's more about a young driver coming of age; and at that, it succeeds. He doesn't win, but he comes close, and Bill Holland makes a nice gesture at the end that never would have happened in real-life, but what the heck, it feels good...

The Big Wheel was a regular length feature, and THE CROWD ROARS was only 70 minutes, so there wasn't a lot of time to develop the plot, which was much more complex than THE BIG WHEEL's.


There are supposedly a few scenes in THE BIG WHEEL that were originally shot for THE CROWD ROARS, but I have yet to identify them.

#144 kayemod

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 22:24

Originally posted by REDARMYSOJA


Perhaps there should be a rating system for this thread , with Grand Prix being the gold standard , say a 10 , and Drivel...I mean Driven being the lowest , or a 0 .


There's a fatal flaw in your reasoning I'm afraid, the fact that any assessment would be no more than a personal opinion, and therefore purely subjective. As an example, only my opinion and I know I'm in a minority here, but I've always thought that Grand Prix was an unconvincing and over-long bore of a film, I've never been able to see what the fuss was about and I wouldn't give it more than 5 on your rating system. Just about the best motor racing film I've seen on the other hand, was The Last American Hero , based on the life of Junior Johnson, which was a damn good film by any standards, helped by the performance of Beau Bridges, and I'd give that one 9. I agree about Heart Like a Wheel which was much better than I expected, and well worthy of at least an 8. Not really racing, but I thought Two-Lane Blacktop was another 8 or 9er. What I think all this proves though, is how few watchable films there have been with motor racing themes. On films deserving low scores, you're probably right about Driven , probably Days of Thunder is equally bad, but I wouldn't really know as I haven't seen either of them. One I have seen that I'd give 'nul point' to, would be one supposedly about NASCAR that featured Burt Reynolds driving wearing a chicken outfit, what was that one called?

#145 TrackDog

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 23:32

Burt Reynolds in a chicken suit? Sounds like STROKER ACE...another bomb from the same era was Kenny Rogers in SIX PACK; it's only redeeming feature was that Buddy Arrington's Mirada was prominent in the final scene...the race was supposwed to take place at Atlanat, IIRC, and the Mirada wa Buddy's short track car...go figure...


Dan

#146 RStock

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 23:48

Originally posted by kayemod


There's a fatal flaw in your reasoning I'm afraid, the fact that any assessment would be no more than a personal opinion, and therefore purely subjective.


True , based on personal taste . But isn't that what movie critics do ? And who better to critique racing movies than the fine folks here ? But it wasn't meant to be taken seriously anyway .


As an example, only my opinion and I know I'm in a minority here, but I've always thought that Grand Prix was an unconvincing and over-long bore of a film, I've never been able to see what the fuss was about and I wouldn't give it more than 5 on your rating system. Just about the best motor racing film I've seen on the other hand, was The Last American Hero , based on the life of Junior Johnson, which was a damn good film by any standards, helped by the performance of Beau Bridges, and I'd give that one 9. I agree about Heart Like a Wheel which was much better than I expected, and well worthy of at least an 8. Not really racing, but I thought Two-Lane Blacktop was another 8 or 9er. What I think all this proves though, is how few watchable films there have been with motor racing themes.


Yes , quite . I think we all know how bad most films involving racing are . Which is one reason Grand Prix would rank so high , in many opinions . It was a serious attempt , unlike what had preceeded it . I remember seeing an interview with director John Frankenheimer in which he said Enzo Ferrari refused to have anything to do with it at first , because of the "silliness" of previous racing movies , but after seeing some of what had been done at that point , came on board an allowed full access to the team .

The scenes from the old tracks and seeing the drivers , along with the seriousness of the attempt , are what puts it so high on most lists , in my opinion . But plotwise , I agree , it's a snoozefest . Just above Bobby Deerfeild on the rating list . I'd rate Heart like a Wheel or The Last American Hero higher just on plot alone .

#147 RStock

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 23:54

Originally posted by TrackDog
Burt Reynolds in a chicken suit? Sounds like STROKER ACE...

Dan


Yep , it was Stroker Ace . I'd actually give it a 1 on the scale , just above Drivel or Days of Thunder but only on two accounts .

1. It was a comedy , a stupid one at that , and didn't pretend to be anything but .

2. Loni Anderson . :smoking:

#148 RA Historian

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 02:03

Originally posted by REDARMYSOJA
Perhaps there should be a rating system for this thread , with Grand Prix being the gold standard , say a 10 , and Drivel...I mean Driven being the lowest , or a 0

NO, NO, NO, NO! Grand Prix absolutely is not the gold standard! As I have mentioned in several other threads, IMHO Grand Prix has the greatest racing scenes ever filmed (in Cinerama) :up: , but the plot is absolutely insipid!! :down: Add Eva Marie Saint's hysterics, and Yves Montand's dramatics ("Tell me Peter, do you ever get tired") and you have a movie that is viewable only with one's finger on the fast forward button in order to skip all the non-racing scenes. Great photography, but a dreadful movie otherwise. Race shots a 10, plot a one or two, rate it about five overall.

As has been mentioned, this is all very subjective. What one likes another dislikes. For whatever it is worth, I rate Le Mans up there near the top. However, I do not rate any movie as a 10. I do agree with R.A.S. though that Driven is a dismal 0. :down:

One movie that I like, and I may be the only one, is Johnny Dark. Yes it is 1954 corn, but it is unique in that there is no crash and burn whatsoever. Perhaps the only racing movie in history that can make that claim. Further, on a personal note, it is the movie that I saw as a young grade school boy that introduced me to sports car racing and as such is responsible for my life's obsession for the past 53 years. :up:

Viva Las Vegas? Some interesting cars, absolutely astonishingly horrible constant crash and burn once the race starts, but what the heck, it has Ann-Margret!!! :love:

Just my opinion, lots will disagree!

Tom

#149 Terry Walker

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 02:20

Johnny Dark? I remember it from my teens - Tony Curtis. I forget the love interest - Piper Laurie?

#150 RStock

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 02:38

Originally posted by RA Historian
NO, NO, NO, NO! Grand Prix absolutely is not the gold standard! As I have mentioned in several other threads, IMHO Grand Prix has the greatest racing scenes ever filmed (in Cinerama) :up: , but the plot is absolutely insipid!! :down: Add Eva Marie Saint's hysterics, and Yves Montand's dramatics ("Tell me Peter, do you ever get tired") and you have a movie that is viewable only with one's finger on the fast forward button in order to skip all the non-racing scenes. Great photography, but a dreadful movie otherwise. Race shots a 10, plot a one or two, rate it about five overall.

As has been mentioned, this is all very subjective. What one likes another dislikes. For whatever it is worth, I rate Le Mans up there near the top. However, I do not rate any movie as a 10. I do agree with R.A.S. though that Driven is a dismal 0. :down:



Just my opinion, lots will disagree!

Tom


OK , ok . But it looks like we have a consensus on the low point , in Driven . While there are numerous others that could rate as low , we'll use it for the measuring point . But I have to agree , no racing movie is a 10 .

I chose Grand Prix as it seems to be the favorite of a majority , but I could be wrong on that . But , how would you rate then .

Set the mark lower ?

Or perhaps use a non-racing movie as the high point ?

In that case I'd go with Lawrence of Arabia , but I'm sure that won't be a consensus either .