Although in no setting could Grand Prix be considered a masterpiece of the cinema, viewers fortunate enough to catch it on a widescreen in a movie house will get a great deal more enjoyment than those watching it at home. Clearly, Grand Prix is the kind of movie that loses a lot when shrunk from its Cinerama/Super Panavision origins. Lionel Lindon's exciting cinematography is thrilling, and the p.o.v. shots from the driver's seat are something to experience. Even more important is the superb work done by the four-man editing team, which is largely responsible for creating suspense and chills throughout and which plays the key role in pacing the entire film. Throw in further exceptional technical work from the sound department and a cast that mostly ranges from solid to pretty damn good, and it's hard to see how the movie could miss. But ultimately Grand Prix doesn't make it into the winner's circle, largely because of a terribly pedestrian screenplay and uneven work from the gifted director John Frankenheimer. Frankenheimer plays Grand Prix's racing scenes for all their worth, but he doesn't put nearly enough effort into the half-baked dramatics that play out between them. Even so, it's worth sitting through the overlong Grand Prix to experience the joyrides.
by Craig Butler review