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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film for the petrol heads amongst us, 24 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Le Mans [Blu-ray] [1971] (Blu-ray)
Firstly let's discuss the disc and the picture and sound transfer.

Remember this film is now over 40yrs old, but it has a timeless quality about it ,and those expecting a gripping story full of dialogue as in most other McQueen films may be disappointed.

This film is from an era when the Mulsanne Straight was left fully untamed, and once competitors had cleared the SSS and Dunlop curve it was a totally brutal top speed assault to Arnage and finally Maisane Blanc.

Another DVD well worth comparing to Le Man, is Derek Bells "In Car 956", which magnificently captures the speed of the Muslanne straight in the 1983 Le Man.

The film gives a great feeling of what driving at the limit in a 917k was really like, and it was perfectly clear why the specially produced Porche 917 LH or Langhek long tail was so much faster.

Watch the first few laps where car number 25 the one of only three 917 LH models left the standard short tailed 917K for dead.

Along with the Martine liveried LH and the famous Hippie Car 917 LH, these very unstable 917 racers were built specifically for outright speed on the Muslanne straight, they were around 15mph faster than the famous Gulf liveried cars, but because of their very tail happy driving characteristics they were removed from competition, leaving the now famous 917 short tail to conquer everyone before them.

Enough of the history lesson, what's the BluRay like.

The film really is all about the mighty battle between the Ferrari 512 and Porche 917 with the majority of the action filmed during the 1970 Le Man race, there is really no storyline to the film other than following the race during it's 24hrs.

The picture quality of the BluRay is pretty decent with the majority of the film in excellent clarity with great contrasts, but it is in the sound department that this film excells.

Right at the start of the race where the clock is about to turn to 4pm the instantaneous start of engines and roar of cars racing away is tremendous.

When McQueen primes his fuel pumps and flicks a few switches on the dashboard of his Gulf Porche, you can hear everything in slowmotion so to speak but the cinematography and excitement of cars hurtling down the Mulsanne straight at well over 200mph is impressive indeed,so impressive that one forgets the age of the film, it has not dated one little bit.

Cameras were placed at such a close proximity to the road that the sense of speed of race cars hurtling by just feet away is mighty impressive, as is the location of cameras onboard both Porche and Ferrari.

Cameras were positioned in such a way to achieve a particular shot that according to the bonus material on the disc cars became unstable at speed, but the close up shots make up for the superb camera angles of the tussle between Ferrari and Porche.

Maybe it's not the kind of film you watch time and time again for a gripping story but if you enjoy motorsport of that particular era the film cannot fail.

The action and car incidents when they happen are extremely realistic and one could be forgiven in thinking you were watching a modern day classic race meeting like they hold at Le Man throughout the year.

A very interesting background making of the film is included as part of the extras on the disc with interviews with Derek Bell and Steve McQueens son.

For all those petrolheads out there with your dreams of race driver stardom just ponder on this.

Steve McQueen did the majority of the driving in the Gulf Porche himself, and once the film was over went on to own the Porche 917K that he drove in the film.

During the filming Steves young son who then was around 6yrs old was allowed to attend the fiming of the race during the 1970 Le Man main race.

On one occasion whilst driving the Porche, Steve McQueen noticed his son showing emense interest in what was going on, so he slowed down the car opened the drivers door to the racecar and allowed his son to sit on his lap.

Off they went at restrained but still considerable speed down the main roads of Le man, and to this day McQueens son recounts the sheer ecceleration of the Porche 917K.

In the bonus extra we see him relive that experience by driving the very car his father used to own, car number 20, the same one he drove in the film.

Le Man still ranks as one of the classic race films and at just under £7 it represents a great way of reliving an era when Porche was dominant.
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