Remaking Grand Prix. Wait… What?

Deadline Hollywood reports that Indie production company Vincent Pictures is undertaking a series of remakes, including Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix. I’m not an enormous fan of remakes, and in this case I think it’s a particularly daunting task. No one has adequately stepped into Frankenheimer’s shoes as being able to capture automotive footage in the beautiful, naturalistic way that is the hallmark of some of the great car chases (and races) in his work. Recent automotive films have relied on computer generated cars for the more harrowing action, which continue to look fake regardless of the budget behind it—Transformers, anyone?

I can understand the draw of remaking older films. The common sentiment is that younger viewers don’t watch old movies, which presents the opportunity to recreate a time-tested product and release it without as much of the risk. Racing geeks, however, are notoriously loyal fans to the older flicks, and continue to seek out catalog titles. The tops of the lists of greatest car flicks has remained remarkably steady over the past few decades. You don’t, for example, see The Fast and the Furious knocking LeMans off of the top of anyone’s favorites.

We’ve also had the fairly recent phenomenon of Stallone’s racing movie Winning Driven. Originally the film was supposed to, in the spirit of Grand Prix, take place in the Formula 1 circuit. Ultimately Bernie et al weren’t interested and the film was relegated to lesser series. I suspect that the same would be true today.

What do you think? Is Grand Prix remake-able? Should it be?

18 responses to “Remaking Grand Prix. Wait… What?”

  1. Bryan says:

    It’s not remake-able. It’d probably end up looking like Driven (which I think is what you were talking about “Winning”).

  2. I truly truly truly hope the F1 establishment completely shuns the idea. This is insane… It makes no sense, either. Those times are gone. The greatest appeal of Grand Prix is how honest and true to the times it is. That includes the way they shot it, the way it looks and the way it sounds, and the plot elements, everything.. It’s not a particularly engaging plot, but it doesn’t matter because the visuals are so great.. I just wish there still were cinerama theatres showing it..

    I remember a while back reading that tey were making a racing movie and that Phil Hill was going to be played by Tobey Maguire, something like that…yuck

  3. Chris says:

    I hate the idea of a re-make.. but I absolutely love the idea of a period-authentic sequel of some sort. No modern cars, but in IMAX with surround.

  4. Edmund says:

    NOOOO! Why remake perfection? I’m sure they’d turn it into shit anyway. It’d be like remaking The Godfather. I hate modern day Hollywood.

  5. Maurice says:

    Is it remake-able? Sure. But should it be done? Hell no. Hollywood would screw it up. F1 would have to give their blessing and I doubt that would happen. Leave the classics as the classics. And speaking of Driven, before it came out I had high hopes. The only real scene in that movie is when they show the drivers with their families or putting a picture of a loved one in the helmet. Everything else in that movie was pure shit.

  6. Heath says:

    Not remake-able – Hollywood will just ruin it, and even if F1 had given Driven its blessing it still would have been cheesy, because the executives are in charge. Only someone who appreciates and understands racing can make a decent film – I have high hopes for the feature length Ayrton Senna documentary being released.

  7. Murph says:

    Wait a great way to ruin a classic movie.

  8. Automobiliac says:

    You can’t re-make Grand Prix. It would cost waaay too much to do it any justice. Like others have said, you’d just end up with shitty CGI cars like in Driven. I do think though that it is high time for someone to make a good period racing movie. I really think a movie about racing in the 1930’s, overlaid with the political upheavals of fascism, etc. would be particularly exciting.

  9. Murph says:

    If you watch the bonus DVD with whatever the release of the most recent DVD iteration of Grand Prix – Frankenheimer or someone else discusses how he basically had to shoot the entire opening Monaco GP and then cut it and take it to Maranello. Only after a screening of entire scene would Enzo Ferrari sign off on the use of Ferrari in the film. Apparently, Enzo was ecstatic after seeing what Frankheimer did with just a few minutes of film.

    With that said, that’s how high the bar had to be when the original was filmed. God knows nobody will be there to hold a remake of it to that kind of standard and that’s why it needs to remain an untouched classic.

    Like someone else mentioned – the Senna documentary has tons of potential.

  10. Alex says:

    I wonder what current director would be best to do the remake? My personal pick would probably be Ridley Scott, he’s a stickler about scene composition and sound (which is big for this film).

  11. Gary Shell says:

    It was to remarkable to be remake-able.

  12. bluetoes591 says:

    It can’t be remade, its a bunch of beautiful racing car footage punctuated by brief moments from the worst storyline/acting of all time. Its a virtual guarantee that the racing footage would be sub par and the storyline/acting would try to overcompensate resulting in…Driven.

  13. Kevin says:

    A resounding NO to the question of whether a re-make should be attempted.

    Why is it that no one is capable of original thought anymore?

    Instead of riding on the coattails of a classic, come up with a great, NEW idea. They should. Really.

    Now, I’m going to pull out Grand Prix and have a watch.

  14. Tim Holmes says:

    I truly agree with “Automobiliac”, you simply cannot re-make Grand Prix. “It would cost way too much to do it any justice.” On a personal note I think remakes are quite a daunting task worth a resounding applause. Great innovations are taking place around the world today, for example the new Mercedes-Benz driving simulator!
    I just watched this incredible video at http://clients.ccm-news.com/?client=Mercedes-Benz. Once you watch it you will get to know how what momentous impact it may have on the way we drive today. The remake of Frankenheimer’s “Grand Prix” might just seem minuscule in comparison.

  15. Jon says:

    Why not come up with a new period racing movie script, rather than trying to re-do something that is already considered a classic?

    Vintage racing is very visceral and visual. Maybe someone could do the Lew Bracker story.

  16. JohnDandy says:

    Remakes of old movies is a popular idea in Hollywood because nobody can write a decent realistic story any more. If it isn’t exploding in a great fireball, shooting 30,000 rounds a minute, or getting screwed no modern day writer can imagine it.

  17. Dan says:

    I SUPPORT REMAKE!

    I love to see how to looks like……..NOW WITH MODERN F1 CARS!

    DEAL WITH IT, PURISTS!

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