Saturday, May 27, 2023

Steve McQueen's OTHER motor racing project by John Crawford

Those of us who flocked to see Steve McQueen’s paen to the Vingt Quatre Heures du Mans, were of the opinion that this was the best film about motor racing to date.


‘Le Mans’ was researched deeply by McQueen, and he ruthlessly pursued its completion and release, but sadly it bankrupted him.


However, before that there was another Steve McQueen motor racing film project. The working title was ‘Day of the Champion’ and it was inspired by Formula One. Despite his efforts, the John Frankenheimer film, ‘Grand Prix’ was released well before McQueen had been able to secure a 'release' from the movie, 'The Sand Pebbles', which ran seven months over-schedule. Subsequently Warner Bros dropped ‘Day of the Champion’.


One of those camera car drivers was my dear friend, the late Sir Stirling Moss.

Moss was not only the lead camera car driver for all the critical high-speed moments of the track footage, but also the chief consultant to Steve McQueen.

Many years ago Stirling and I discussed his contribution and his relationship with McQueen whom he rated as a great driver, and all-round 'good bloke'.


The bulk of the ancilliary footage are crisp images of the 1965 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, shot in full-frame 35mm. In addition, there are fabulous ‘over-the-shoulder’ scenes taken from Stirling’s car.

The film, which was shown on Sky Documentaries, is written, produced and directed by Alex Rodger, formerly of Sky F1. However, archivist Richard Wiseman is credited with bringing the movie to life after he was sent clips from an American stock movie library.

This documentary movie is called ‘The Lost Movie’, narrated by another petrol-head, David Letterman. It appears you can only stream it on STAN in Australia, as well as You Tube.


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