Tuesday, November 3, 2009

24 Hours of Le Mans

Lotta people go through life doing things badly. Racing's important to men who do it well. When you're racing, it's life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.
-Michael Delaney, Le Mans, 1971

The 24 hour racing series at Le Mans tests a man's nerve, his insidious cunning in attaining a goal, and his mettle during times of adversity. This is not just a car movie, it's an operatic spectacle of sights, sounds, and pulsing adrenaline. A gorgeous dialogue between engines at redline and the complex interplay between competing drivers at the top of their game.

Not a movie for the masses (actually it was a flop in theaters and bankrupted McQueen's production company), but for a car junky the 1971 Steve McQueen racer flick, Le Mans, is just. plain. awesome.

Steve McQueen drives his 911S around the race course at the start of the movie.

McQueen's 911S on the streets of France.

Steve McQueen's character, Michael Delaney, buttons up his fireproof racesuit. Serious swagger.

The iconic TAG Heuer 'Monaco' watch prominently displayed as Delaney buckles his helmet.

Steve McQueen in Le Mans.

In the early going McQueen's Gulf Porsche 917 chases the Porsche 917L "long tail" (#25). The car eventually retired from the race with a sick engine.

Delaney's Gulf Porsche 917 (#20) barrels down a straightaway.

Delaney's 917 exits a turn.

Delaney's Porsche 917 (#21) hits an S-turn with the Ferrari 512 (#5) in hot pursuit in last stage of the race. Check out that packed grandstand.

McQueen takes a break during filming.

Steve McQueen posing in front of a Ferrari 512 (#5).

Michael Delaney casts the infamous 'two-fingered salute'.

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