It’s hard to believe, perhaps, but I’ve never found the time to watch the legendary Steve McQueen film Le Mans. With Mark Webber’s latest career move now confirmed this is something I need to put right. Jonathan Moore from Speedhunters has whet my appetite with his intro to the film:
…Le Mans was brutally raw. McQueen’s main driver, Michael Delaney, says little during the entire film and nothing at all until 36 minutes in. Dialogue in general is scarce. He lets the cars do the talking.
The start scene is a case in point, and still sends shivers down my spine. You see the main cars: Porsche 917s, Ferrari 512s. You see the drivers and their preparations. McQueen almost caressing his steering wheel, officials unfurling flags, visors coming down… But you hear nothing. No sound at all.
Then as the clock ticks down you hear the staccato beat of a heart, increasing in tempo as 4pm approaches… Fingers flicker near starters, spectators crane forward for a better view… The heartbeat gets quicker, louder… And then the clock strikes 4pm, the flag drops and all hell is unleashed on track. It’s automotive perfection.
Watch this clip, then buy the film, sit back and revel in McQueen’s unbridled passion. It’s the kind of film that’s unlikely to ever be made again. Perhaps only Rush will come close?
So, I’m going to take his advice and address the flaws of my movie watching history. How about you, have you seen the film? Tell me about it in the comments section. And if you haven’t, join me in the quest to tick a box that should have been ticked many years ago!