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A few words about... Grand Prix -- in Standard Definition

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#1 of 6 Robert Harris

Robert Harris

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Posted July 23 2006 - 12:54 PM

Grand Prix, which was photographed in Super Panavision 70, runs 179 minutes and is separated at the Intermission on two discs.

The image quality is superb, with only the occasional wet gate flaw showing through onto the interpositive element.

What I recall of Grand Prix, which I saw in a 70mm house in White Plains, NY, still holds true.

The film, photographed by Lionel Lindon contains some of the finest racing cinematography, and is worth the price of admission for that alone, becomes occasionally bogged down in the multiple personal storylines which make up the film.

On the positive side, one can still take pleasure in the beautifully constructed main title sequence in by visual consultant Saul Bass, and the score, occasionally reminiscent of Dr. Zhivago, by Maurice Jarre.

Produced by the Douglas / Lewis company that gave us Spartacus and other fine films, and directed by John Frankenheimer, Grand Prix, some forty years after its release, gives us a miraculous snapshot of what Formula One racing was like at the time, before steering wheels had as many computerized controls as space shuttle.

Warner has done a terrific job bringing this to DVD, and short of the personal "dramas," I recommend it heartily. I've noted before that there are some films which will look superb in HD. This will be one of them.

It is impossible to watch this film, and not be drawn into the raw, visceral images of cars racing through the streets at high speed, with 70mm cameras attached to them. Watch for a Super Panavision 70 handheld about 25 minutes into the film, and also in the background of crowd scenes.


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence

#2 of 6 Herb Kane

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Posted July 23 2006 - 03:16 PM

Thanks Robert. I've heard nothing but good things about this set.

I asked for this title for a forum review but sadly, it never showed up.

Thanks again,

My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#3 of 6 ScottR



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Posted July 23 2006 - 03:21 PM

Being an Indy Hoosier, I have to get this film. I've never seen it, but I'm sure James Garner has finer moments racing his car in the film than when he got stopped near my house a few years ago, following the Indy 500, for speeding (and possible DUI, although I don't remember that much about it.) Incidentally, is Antonio Sabato the father of Antonio Sabato, jr. (that sounds like a dumb question, but you know what I mean!)

#4 of 6 Francois Caron

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Posted July 24 2006 - 05:27 AM

Super Panavision 70 handheld

How many hernias has this camera produced? Posted Image

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who thought the multiple storylines were a bit too much. I just wanted them to get back to the racing! I was really impressed with the camera cars especially when the production team found out the best way to mount a camera on a vehicle was to simply mount it directly to the chassis and forget about installing any kind of shock absorbing material. The camera shots were surprisingly steady.

Has the old Monza track with the banked turns ever been revived in any video games?

#5 of 6 Brian L

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Posted July 25 2006 - 04:03 PM

Outstanding image quality.

I have only gotten through the first 1/3 of the film, but I am very impressed. For an F1 fan such as myself, the Monaco segement alone at the beginning of the film is worth the price of admission.

It is great to see how the circuit has evolved over the years.


#6 of 6 Mark B

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Posted July 26 2006 - 03:16 AM

I must say I love the racing sequences, but the "dramatic" moments contain some of the worst dialogue and acting I have ever seen in my life. Too bad Frankenheimer didn't put as much effort into those as he did in the amazing action sequences.