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Grand Prix(1966)

With its creative use of split-screen footage to capture high-speed racing action, this film is similar to a three-hour roller-coaster ride. Director John Frankenheimer, himself a former amateur driver, wanted the story to capture the racing experience of a brash driver (James Garner) trying to regain success after causing an accident that gets him fired. He worked with title designer Saul Bass to create the split-screen effects that combine actual racing footage, aerial shots of the races and point-of-view shots created by placing a camera inside of a Ford GT40, driven by real life Formula 1 driver Phil Hill. Initially, racecar manufacturers were hesitant to help with the film. However, when Frankenheimer showed 30 minutes of racing footage that he filmed in Monte Carlo to Ferrari executives, they were so impressed they gave him unprecedented access to their factories and cars. Between races, Frankenheimer and scenarist Robert Alan Aurthur showcased an international cast in a kind of Grand Hotel on wheels, with Brian Bedford as a British driver injured because of Garner’s early recklessness, Jessica Walter as his unhappy wife, Yves Montand as an aging driver, Eva Marie Saint as his mistress and Toshirô Mifune as the head of the new company that hires Garner. (d. John Frankenheimer, 176m, Digital)


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