SKOR.id – Steve McQueen is more than a silver screen legend, actor, director and filmmaker in general. He also has a great passion for racing and making a film about the 24 Hour of Le Mans, one of the most famous motor races in the world, was his lifelong dream.
The shooting preparations had already started three years before the final titled film Le Mans started on June 23, 1971.
To prepare, Steve McQueen bought a classic Porsche 908 race car to start training in California and get his racing license. Later, he participated in the 12-hour Sebring endurance race, where despite a broken leg he was able to take 2nd place and co-driversof Peter Revson.
Next is the real thing, shot during the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. McQueen’s film company, Solar Productions, sent a racing team to Le Mans in 1969, only to discover that due to the amount of dust on the holes and the lack of proper lighting made shooting difficult.
Production was delayed for a year. Then, a few weeks before the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans, McQueen and his team returned to the Bugatti Circuit. This trip was fun because the race organizers were building holes new, repainted garage, and added night lighting in some parts of the track.
Solar power once again put the car on the track. This time, however, McQueen could not get off, although he was previously on the list of drivers (entry list) The reason is that, before the race, McQueen’s insurance company threatened that if he followed Le Mans it would cancel all his insurance contracts.
As a result, only one Solar Productions car appeared on the starting line – a Porsche 908 with Herbert Linge and Jonathan Williams alternating behind the wheel.
The job of the Solar Productions “race team” is not to win. However, their car was equipped with a camera, recording the action on the track for film use.
In total, the production used more than 76,000 meters of film. Although the car had to stop frequently to change cameras, it stayed with the leading group for a long time, while also taking many good film pictures.
Other cameras, strategically placed around the track, work all day and all night, doing the same thing. One important thing is that none of these images have been altered in any way. In all 106 minutes of the film, there are no camera tricks, no fast forward shots, everything is real and real.
Of course the shooting does not end with the completion of the race. The track was rented several months after the 24 Hours of Le Mans race completed McQueen’s number of events and area others, like the three accidents you can see in the movie.
The hardest part of course is making the track look the same as it did during the race. This turned production into a major concern. Recruited are runners and the entire team, marshal monitor, police, journalists and even spectators in the stadiums.
Production even went so far as to see bugs scattered on the driver’s helmet, which, despite being numerous during the race, disappeared a few weeks later. However, the hood still had to be replaced.
The track should also be lit up with advertising panels and busy with racing cars following the actual race. But the problems did not end there.
Enzo Ferrari refused to work with the filmmaker after learning that Porsche won in the film Le Mans. That’s why most of the Ferraris in the film are rented from the team Private or (for a crash or crash) built from an old Lola chassis body work difference.
Several cars were destroyed in the filming process Le Mans. The most famous is the accident scene of Michael Delaney (Steve McQueen) at the beginning of the film – the racing Porsche is guided far into the defense line. The result is the same an accident the best and most realistic in the history of film, and repeated several times in the film.
A number of crashes, both planned and unplanned, also lead to many strange moments in the making of the film. At one point, Derek Bell’s Ferrari caught fire and the driver survived the burn.
Another driver, David Piper, ended up worse. His Porsche 917 crashed and split in half. Piper survived, but lost a leg. As compensation, he was given all the international earnings from the first day of the film Le Mans play in movies.
Capturing the crash with the sprinter running from the exploding Ferrari provides another dramatic moment. The car caught fire earlier than planned stuntman he couldn’t run fast enough and catch fire. Surprisingly, only part of these images made it into the final film.
The shoot was very long and difficult. Shot without a film, it took about two years to meet its original budget. It also probably stresses a lot of people.
But in the end, it all worked out well and on June 23, 1971, it was time for a movie Le Mans finally premiered. The result is one of the most realistic racing films ever made and a must for everyone petrol heads or movie fans.
Unlike the production process, the story of this fictional drama film directed by Lee H. Katzin is actually quite simple. Michael Delaney (Steve McQueen), a racer for the Porsche team, is haunted by memories of an accident in the previous year’s race in which a rival driver was killed.
Additionally, Delaney also finds himself increasingly attracted to Lisa Belgetti (Elga Andersen), the driver’s widow. The subplot focuses on Delaney’s long-running rivalry with his Ferrari-driving nemesis, Erich Stahler (Siegfried Rauch).