Terrence Steven "Steve" McQueen, best known to hordes of fans as "The King of Cool," is the subject of this book in which authors Michael Kayser and Jonathan Williams, examine the life of the actor, films in which he appeared, and his well-known love for the many cars and motorcycles he owned during his lifetime.
And as the title indicates, A French Kiss With Death: Steve McQueen and the Making of Le Mans, the book devotes a big section to a behind-the-scenes account of the movie, from start to finish, with insightful and fascinating stories from some of the key players who were involved in the making of the film.
Plus, you'll get a unique "behind the camera" and "behind the wheel" look at over 25 race cars used during the film's production. Alfa Romeos, Corvettes, Chevrons, Ferraris, Porsches, Lolas and Matras.
An important part of car racing history captured in 464 pages and with over 800 photographs, many of which were shot during the production of Le Mans.
Book Excerpt: A French Kiss With Death: Steve McQueen and the Making of Le Mans
THE MAN AND THE MACHINES
Now that his name alone was sufficient to guarantee the financing of a motion picture, Steve began concentrating on a dream he'd long had - to make a film that would combine his two worlds. It would be the first movie to capture the authentic, gritty drama of auto racing and feature an actor who was himself an accomplished driver. He had no idea of what the exact story line would be, but he knew who he wanted to direct the film - his old friend and mentor, John Sturges.
Early in 1965, Steve, Sturges and director John Frankenheimer jointly announced they'd acquired the rights to film Robert Daley's 1963 book about racing, The Cruel Sport.
The fact that two directors were working on one project did not appear to be an obstacle or an oversight at the time. Perhaps one would handle the off-track scenes, the other direct the actual racing sequences. Both men had excellent track records. Sturges was the leading visual action director who Steve trusted implicitly to handle him correctly. Frankenheimer's recent filmology included Seven Days in May, The Manchurian Candidate, and The Train.
As was perhaps inevitable, the three were unable to come up with a unified concept for the visualization of the picture, and a month or two later they split up.
Frankenheimer took his portion of the rights to the book and announced that he was planning to make his own racing film under the title The Cruel Sport with backing from MGM. Sturges and McQueen said they also planned to produce a racing film, also called The Cruel Sport. It didn't take long for the two camps to realize what they were doing was insane.
Frankeheimer retitled his film Grand Prix and McQueen and Sturges called theirs Day of the Champion, which they referred to as "the inside story of professional motor racing."
The basic plot of Day of the Champion concerned a crash-prone Formula 1 driver who becomes World Champion despite several psychological problems. The theme was that of a man pitted against his own limits in a sport requiring him to put his life on the line each time he races. Although somewhat trite, in the mid-sixties this was a fact of life in racing, particularly in Formula 1.
"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting." —Steve McQueen in Le Mans
Subject: Auto Racing: Steve McQueen 24 Hours of Le Mans movie. McQueen's car and motorcycle collection. ISBN-10: 0837602343|ISBN-13: 978-0-8376-0234-9 | Bentley GMCQ