A friend an I were talking about a film made in the 70's which shows a guy driving through Paris in a Ferrari at incredible speeds. I remember seeing it sometime ago and now it seems to have disappeared. Until now.
Here's the story:
In 1976 Claude Lelouch claims he mounted a gyro stabilized 35mm motion picture camera onto the bumper of a Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9. He had in mind a route that would take him through Paris at a speed nearing 140 MPH. He basically had one shot since the camera only held 1000 feet of film. Which explains the nine minute film you are about to see.
So, at 5:30AM, he took off and shot the film. In one take. No effects except for one. He dubbed in the sound of his Ferrari 275 GTB to match the gearing and speeding of the Mercedes. After shooting with the Mercedes, he drove the same route with the Ferrari recording the audio for the overdub. Nevertheless, this is one hell of a ride. The red lights are real and so are the pedestrians. He could not secure a permit to close any of the streets for this shoot, so he shot it illegally.
After watching this film a couple of times, I'm more under the impression that he likely did this only once with the Ferrari. Matching the audio to the film would have been a little tricky in some parts. Besides, why risk the danger more than once? BUT...
He also makes the claim there was an assistant with a walkie talkie near the Louvre archway who was acting as a spotter, looking for pedestrians. This was because the one turn he makes there is blind. Claude said after the fact, the radios had failed and he would have never heard the warning had there been one.
Other claims made after the fact include the reasoning behind the Ferrari overdub was to give the viewer a greater sense of speed. Calculations by some independent groups claim Lelouch never exceeded 85 MPH. Keep in mind, the Mercedes he claims he used as the camera car is certainly capable of 140MPH. However, some people state the route he took is only 6.48 miles and in the 7 minute 57 second run time, that would give him an average speed of 48.86 MPH. Hardly the speed demon he's presenting in the film. I don't know about you, but the route seems longer than what is being disputed here.
The route he took is here. It starts to the left. It starts near Port Dauphine and takes him through the Louvre, the Arc d'Triomphe and along the Champs-Elysees. He ends the run at Mont Marte overlooking Paris, and a hot blond woman.
After the drive, it is rumored Claude (who says he actually drove the route) was arrested and released but was ticketed for the stunt. It's also rumored the mayor of Paris at the time, tore the ticket up as it was not known, at the time of the film who exactly was the driver. Claude merely admitted to being the filmmaker.
It would seem Lelouch was downplaying the production of the film as it was said that he was on the receiving end of massive criticism for the stunt. Whatever or however the film was produced is of no real consequence though as it is undoubtedly a thrill to watch.
There is a DVD of this out with a making-of documentary and it is highly recommended for those of you who like this sort of thing.
It is recommended you watch this in full screen with the volume up. Then go find the DVD. The footage on it has been remastered.
The thumbnail here takes you off the blog to another site which is hosting the film.
Short Movie Rendez-Vous of Claude Lelouch, in Paris in 1976
What do you think?
This is what it's like for me when I am late for work at 4:30AM.