Various Authors noon, Feb. 16
Filmed during the practice sessions for and the actual running of the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix, the immediacy of the camerawork became such a huge contributor to the narrative force that the film still cries out for a big screen treatment. And not the comparatively puny and nightmarish IMAX shoeboxes that today’s multiplex experience passes for dream palaces, but a giant, wrap-around 150-foot Cinerama screen, similar to the one I first saw it on. (The hard ticket, reserved seat roadshow engagement required that dad and I come decked out in our best bib and tucker.) Lionel Lindon’s deep focus, rack and pinion 65mm cinematography — the ads dangled Cinerama, but a quick perusal of the theatre revealed one booth, not the three generally associated with the process — was so crisp and immensely overwhelming that the viewer actually felt buckled into the front seat of a barreling Ferrari. The process was, after all, first brought to viewers attention by strapping a camera to the front seat of a roller coaster. John Frankenheimer, one of the earliest television directors to successfully make the leap to the big screen, was the first to admit that this all-star omnibus picture with its international cast owed as much to Grand Hotel as it did single-seat racing. James Garner did all his own driving, and for a change, Saul Bass’s visual consultation and frequently interspersed montages continued on long after his dazzling title sequence had ended. Racing fans consider this commensurate with porn, but off the track, the film never finds its dramatic footing. For a guy who can’t tell the difference between Formula One and Vicks Formula 44, there are better ways to kill three hours. With: Eva Marie saint, Yves Montand, Brian Bedford, Jessica Walter, Toshirô Mifune, and Paul Frees, the host of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, as the voice of Toshirô Mifune.
- When: Monday, February 17, 2020, 6:30 p.m.