Drivers Defy Death in Prix Movie
By Judy Todd, Tribune Staff Writer
Salt Lake Tribune, 2 February 1967, page A7
You're with the drivers - the hard, skilled, disciplined men who have clawed their way to the top of the racing circuit.
You feel the electric tension before the big race as the last bolts are tightened on their $100,000 Formula One racing cars.
You feel their heartbeats run and their nerves stretch as they clamp on crash helmets and tug on gloves to the whine of engines being revved up to win.
Ride With Champion
Then you ride with them, through race after race and risk upon risk, until the wave of the black and white checkered victory flag heralds the world champion driver and signals the close of the Grand Prix racing season.
MGM's Cinerama roadshow "Grand Prix," which premiered Wednesday at the Villa Theater, flashes across Europe with these drivers in their grueling race for speed and glory.
Starring James Garner, Yves Montand, Brian Bedford and Antonio Sabato as the tough, expert drivers, with Eva Marie Saint, Jessica-Walter and Francoise Hardy, as the women who follow them, the film underscores the axiom that winner takes all and loser loses all.
Cameras rigged on the sleek, custom-built cars and triggered by radio signals from the periphery of the winding Grand Prix courses where the movie was filmed, put the viewer next to the driver - careening through the winding streets of Monte Carlo, soaring over the high banked curves at Monza or splashing along the rain-slicked, deep-green countryside of Belgium.
And above all is the obsession of the drivers to win - to be the fastest and the best. Through a technique of dividing the giant screen into two sections, the film examines the motivations that compel these men to race. The man and his automobile are shown on half the screen while a monment of his past life is shown on the other half.
Drivers think aloud - concentrating on the difficulties of the race and their destinies. As Yves Montand pondered during the first race, "I suppose none of us would be here if we thought seriously about twhat would happen if we smashed into a tree at 100 miles per hour. But to do something really dangerous requires and absence of imagination."
The Salt Lake Kiwanis Club sponsored the Wednesday benefit premiere of "Grand Prix" for the Kiwanis Felt Youth Center. A second benefit performance is scheduled for Thursday at 8 p.m. by the Holladay-Cottonwood Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Utah Region Sports Car Club of American for the Holladay Childen's Center.