by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 207
F1 >>> FEATUrE james Garner passed away last week. It was not a huge surprise. The Hollywood leading man, star of TV staples ‘Maverick’ and ‘The Rockford Files’ had experienced ill-health since suffering a stroke six years ago. He was 86. The usual tributes were paid to a man who was, by most accounts, well-liked. But the interesting thing is, about as many of those tributes came from the world of auto racing and cars as came from the entertainment business. Much of that is to do with the movie ‘Grand Prix’. The 1966 drama tells the tale of a fight for the Formula 1 Drivers World Championship with, somewhat predictably, Americans at the centre (or should that be ‘center’) of the story. They are Pete Aron (Garner), a rebellious and talented driver; Louise Asher (Eva Marie Saint) who is besotted with Ferrari’s veteran lead driver Jean-Pierre Sarti; and Pat Stoddart (Jessica Walter) who is married to one F1 driver and having an affair with another. I love that movie. On the day it was released on DVD, I ran down to the local outlet and bought it, quit work early and went home to watch it. It runs for about four hours with extras, so it took some doing. The story is a bit of a pot boiler but it works – life, death, romance, tragedy. These days I avoid watching 'The Sound of Music' – too many nuns, not enough gunfire – but I love that the only Hills that are alive in ‘Grand Prix’ are Phil and Graham, both in speaking parts and playing, you guessed it, racing drivers. The list of non-speaking drivers recruited for the movie include World Champions Jack Brabham and Jim Clark, Lorenzo Bandini, Bruce McLaren and Richie Ginther, amid a cast of others. And in that company Garner does his own driving – in real racing cars, and really, really fast. Months of driving tuition from Bob Bondurant revealed that, in spite of being taller than any modern F1 driver (he was 1.88m tall), once in a car, Jim could pedal it. Even on the Monza banking at speeds well over 200km/h, that is Garner you see, mixing it with Jackie Stewart and Co, and not making a git of himself. Two of the other lead actors couldn’t drive a road car, let alone an F1 car (or, to be truthful, a Formula 3 car dressed up), which makes one wonder why they were cast. Indeed Yves Montand was so spooked by the Ferrari he was in that it was rigged up to the rear of a Ford GT40, leaving Montand to put on the manly ‘Sarti’ face while being towed at over 200kmh. But, at least it looked authentic. If only we could say that about other motor racing movies ... (and I am ignoring the acclaimed ‘Senna’ and any other documentary films made about the sport). Last year ‘Rush’ put the spotlight on motor racing films. Rightly or wrongly, the story of the battle for the 1976 WDC between James Hunt and Niki Lauda gained considerable attention, and it was generally met with positive reviews. Not from me; I disliked it, but I recognise that I am not among the 90 percent of viewers at whom the movie was targeted. I wish I could say the same for ‘Driven’. I once reviewed this movie as “one of Sylvester’s Stallone’s worst movies, unless you include all the others” . Considering the amount of time and effort put into the project over such a long period of time, it was a turkey. After originally targeting Formula 1, Stallone spent years on what became While the rest of the crew had stand-in drivers, James Garner did a lot of the driving in his action scenes in 'Grand Prix' – including on the old Monza banking (left). Garner's character, PeterAron, used Chris Amon's helmet colours so that footage from real races could be used in the movie ... 23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: