Rendezvous? S’il vous plait!

Hollywood car guy Jay Leno has attempted one of the biggest car movie heists of all time. In this video The fast and the famous Leno says he was inspired by the iconic 1976 Claude Lelouch short film C’était un rendez-vous, better known simply as Rendezvous—a 9 minute wonder filmed, in one take, on the streets of Paris.

Readers who can’t remember Mike Gibson in a woollen sweater hosting Channel Nine’s Wide World of Sports may not know this movie (they used to play the short film regularly during the show’s heyday in the 1980s). If you haven’t seen Rendezvous try and track down a copy, it is very, very good.

Back to Leno’s effort. If he was trying to recreate Rendezvous he failed, this clip doesn’t get anywhere near matching the excitement of the original. But, to be fair he doesn’t make that claim. He states his belief that every city has a hidden racetrack inside and he reckons Los Angeles has a cracker of a street circuit. In this film he takes us on that route, which takes in Mulholland Drive, Laurel Canyon, Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Drive and Coldwater Canyon Drive.

Perhaps Leno’s biggest faux pas is comparing this route to the Nürburgring Nordschleife. As much as Jay might like his city circuit—no, just no!

One aspect in which Leno does improve on the original Rendezvous film is by having the car matched to its soundtrack. The car Leno drives around his street track is the Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS Gullwing, and the noise it makes is, quite simply, divine.

For me, some of the magic of Rendezvous was lost when I discovered the camera car was a Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL with the audio soundtrack of a Ferrari 275GTB overdubbed. Sure, such tricks are used in movie making all the time, but the Paris classic was presented as a one take hit that was raw and exhilarating. For mine, audio trickery spoils the moment.

You can read more about The fast and the famous at Motor Trend. There is also a “making of” clip available after the jump.

[Thanks to Avril for the tip]

Jay Leno's Los Angeles Nurburgring