Hooniverse Bookshelf: Grand Prix, 1966 – With Video

While I admit, this isn’t exactly a book, some of us keep DVDs on bookshelves. Whatever, It’s my post, I shouldn’t have to justify my decisions! If you have never seen the 1966 John Frankenheimer classic, you can no longer call yourself a “car guy”…or girl. Here are a few key facts about the film that you may not have known.

  • Grand Prix won three academy awards for best sound effects, best film editing, and best sound
  • All of the main “driver” characters enrolled in, and completed, Bob Bondurant’s School of High Performance Driving for the film
  • Of James Garner, Bondurant thought had he started racing earlier, he could have been a very competitive Grand Prix driver
  • Real race footage from the Grand Prix season is used, including early experimentation with in car footage.
  • In recording audio for the Monaco sequence, world champion Phil Hill was recruited to drive a car around a track in California to make the sounds of the Monaco Grand Prix, all from memory. Every shift, every tire squeal, and every rev is accounted for.
  • Many real racing drivers of the period make cameo appearances in the film, including Richie Ginther, Phil Hill, Sir Jack Brabham, and Bruce McLaren
  • For filming on the high banks of Spa Francorchamps, Phil Hill drove a modified Ford GT40 with cameras fore and aft to capture some of the film’s most stunning race sequences
  • Originally filmed and presented in Super Panavision 70, Grand Prix was projected in theaters onto three separate screens laid out so that the audience sat inside of their angles
  • The opening title sequence was composed primarily at the direction of legendary Saul Bass.  It is both breathtakingly beautiful, as well as posted below.  If you have never seen this before, you should probably remain seated for it’s entirety…you may experience weak knees.

  [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cADL_gjDim4[/youtube]

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