FSM’s premiere CD release of Maurice Jarre’s score for Grand Prix includes a full-color 20-page booklet with exhaustive notes by Paul Andrew MacLean about the film and its music, including new interview comments from the composer, as well as revealing behind-the-scenes photographs, all assembled into a fantastic package by FSM art director Joe Sikoryak. The CD features all of the music heard in the film, much of which was not included on the original MGM Records LP release of the score. That LP, however, was issued as a special “gatefold” album with extensive liner notes—unusual for most soundtrack releases of the time—that focused at least as much on the real-life racecar drivers associated with the film as they did on the film’s score. Due to their length, sufficient space was not available in the CD booklet to reproduce them in their entirety, so we have made them available here at www.filmscoremonthly.com/notes and as a PDF file for your reading pleasure.
From the original MGM Records LP
Grand Prix is the story of four drivers, the women behind them, the cars beneath them.
These four daredevils dice with death across the race tracks of the globe.
Each has his eyes and heart on the world championship. Only one can win. They are:
The American Peter Aron (James Garner). Aron, a restless, abrasive personality, lives for driving. Starting the season with Jordan-BRM he is fired after a multiple crash at Monaco, rejected by the autocratic Manetta-Ferrari owner (Adolfo Celi), finally ends up in partnership with Japan’s ambitious Izo Yamura (Toshiro Mifune). Both badly want the world championship. Yamura for his cars. Aron for himself.
The Corsican Jean-Pierre Sarti (Yves Montand). At an age when most top drivers have retired to the grandstands, he aims one last fling at the world title and a win that could give him the elusive hat trick. An added tension to his bid is his blossoming love affair with fashion editor Louise Fredrickson (Eva Marie Saint). And at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour, tension spells trouble.
The Britisher Scott Stoddard (Brian Bedford). A talented young Jordan-BRM driver, whose marriage and racing suffer from the shadow of his dead brother Roger, a former world champ whose personality still haunts the circuits in general and the Stoddard family home in particular. And then there is his wife, Pat (Jessica Walter). Pat is a problem—a bored ex-model, failed actress, indifferent wife and troublesome mistress to Stoddard’s archrival and ex-colleague Pete Aron.
The Sicilian Nino Barlini (Antonio Sabato). A wild young driver played by a wild young actor. Barlini lives and dreams cars, motorbikes and girls. One of the girls is Lisa (Françoise Hardy), an enigmatic beauty who emerges from a Riviera discotheque to follow the racing season and Barlini.
Of the quartet, one will raise his hand in victory, another will die. Not one of them or their women will ever be the same.
Maurice Jarre was born in Lyon, France. He studied composition and percussion at the Conservatoire with Jacques de la Presle, Louis Aubert and Arthur Honegger. In 1944 he was called up by the Navy and saw active service in World War II.
When Jean Louis Berrault formed his own theatre company, he asked Jarre to become orchestral conductor and arranger. Jarre stayed with the Barrault company for four years.
In 1951, he joined Jean Vilar, who had started a national theatre company. For the first time Jarre composed music for a wide range of plays—Shakespeare, Moliere, O’Neill, Eliot and Victor Hugo.
In 1955 Jarre was awarded the Zurich prize for a symphony and violin concerto. That same year he won the Italian Opera Radiofoniche prize for a radio opera, Ruiselle. In 1962 he again received the Radiofoniche prize, this time for a TV opera, Les Filles du Feu. The composer has written concert music for the festivals at Aix-en-Provence and Strasbourg; ballets for the Paris Opera Comique and London’s Sadler’s Wells.
Jarre started writing music for films in 1952. His first feature film assignment was Franju’s La tête contre les murs. In addition to Grand Prix he has done scores for 38 other foreign and American films, including Sundays and Cybel, The Longest Day, The Collector, Is Paris Burning?, Night of the Generals, Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago.
He won the coveted Motion Picture Academy Oscar in 1962 for Lawrence of Arabia and again in 1965 for Doctor Zhivago.
Motor Racing is now acknowledged to be the biggest spectator sport in the world.
And in Motor Racing the pinnacle of attainment for driver and constructor alike is Grand Prix Formula One competition.
A Formula One car is designed to travel at the maximum possible speed for a given period without destroying itself or its driver.
The Formula One driver is a remarkable person. Today only 20 or so men are qualified to drive these machines whose design gives them the aspect of a slightly flattened cigar.
The first Grand Prix was held in June 1906 at Le Mans in France. It was called simply the Grand Prix (big prize) because at that time the French were the largest automobile manufacturers and the pioneers in car racing.
Since then Grand Prix racing has matured greatly but is still a tight little competitive island unto itself. In the 17 years since the beginning of the official World Championship Series only 25 drivers have known the thrill of winning a Grand Prix and of those a mere nine have become world champion.
Formula One racing has produced some legendary figures: five-time champion Juan Fangio from South America, an ex-bus driver. Stirling Moss, who is able to read the small print in a newspaper across a room. Rudolph Caracciola, who could and would drive at high speed in torrential rain without goggles! And Australian Jack Brabham, who—at the advanced age of 40—confounded the pundits by building his own car and piloting it to a third world title.
The filming involved moving more than 200 people across six countries in five months.
From Monaco to Monza, Italy, through Belgium, England, Holland and France probably the most complex film unit ever assembled watched, waited for and finally photographed the Grand Prix season.
To most of the nine-nation polyglot, motor racing was just a lot of noise and smell. They soon changed their minds.
Frankenheimer, producer Lewis and M-G-M became owners of the biggest private racing team in the world. Anything that competed in Formula One racing during 1966 was duplicated for Grand Prix.
After some elaborate research British ex-champion Jim Russell and his versatile team of mechanics were able to “second guess” Formula One manufacturers almost at will.
The first race at Monaco in May produced near chaos. Two hundred-odd extra bodies plus enough gear to fill in tiny Monte Carlo harbor were somehow shoehorned into the Principality. Hollywood high-lifers discovered the real meaning of sleeping in the bath.
During one sudden crisis when Frankenheimer’s “Army” failed to produce a humble painter, he was heard to lament loudly that “It would be quicker and cheaper to get Picasso from down the coast.”
The blood-red Ferrari needing a “touch-up” finally received attention from a make-up man wielding a nifty nail polish brush. Picasso breathed again.
NASA-developed electronic and microwave system cameras filmed the action from angles never before seen in the theater. Sedan-conditioned cameramen spent much of their working day at speeds over 150 mph in specially modified monster camera cars and helicopters.
From the Riviera the “juggernaut” was airlifted north to Spa, Belgium. More and more top GP drivers signed to appear in the picture. Household motoring names like Phil Hill, Graham Hill and Jack Brabham started to talk knowledgeably about camera angles, soft focus and over-the-shoulder two-shots.
And the acting fraternity—James Garner, Yves Montand, Brian Bedford and Antonio Sabato, who do all their own driving in the film—sounded more like mechanics than the mechanics.
At Spa, to match a genuine mid-race rain sequence, the phlegmatic Belgian crowds sat tight while water was poured all over them. And in a victory shot following closely on the formal ceremony, James Garner’s reception from the crowd far exceeded that of the real winner.
Brands Hatch, England, was next in the diary. Weather was wet and since everyone lived at the track-side in a massive caravan “village,” mud came in the knee-high variety.
Lloyds of London also took the time to come and watch. And promptly canceled Jim Garner’s insurance in horror.
Next a brief four-day airborne attack on the sand-duned Zandvoort course in Holland preceded a “ghost” Grand Prix at Clermont-Ferrand in France.
For the comparative calm of his “by-invitation-only” racing event, John Frankenheimer imported some 40 top drivers and motoring press. Local enthusiasts flocked up from town to “star” with their idols. And the Auvergne Region relived its racing past all over again.
Finally the production came to rest at Monza in North Italy, the womb of Italian auto racing and scene of the climax of Grand Prix. The five-month-long efforts of cast and crew were finally melded into what became the first definitive film on Formula One racing.
Nothing like it has been attempted before. It will probably never happen again.
Fasten your seat belts!
GRAHAM HILL (England): Indianapolis winner 1966 when all the European countries, particularly the French, cared about was not the prize—or even the glory—but the way he kissed the pretty girl after the race. They were watching by Telstar. The funniest man in an unfunny sport. World Champion 1962.
PHIL HILL (America): First and only American, so far, to win World Championship. Physically an almost perfect racing machine who away from the track collects classic cars, classical records and antique piano rolls. Prize possession is piano roll of a Rachmaninoff Concerto played by the man himself. Director John Frankenheimer’s No. 1 racing adviser.
JOAKIM BONNIER (Switzerland): Cool, reserved but popular President of the Grand Prix Drivers Association. Comes from Professor’s family in the far north of Sweden. Married to one of the prettiest of the “pit wives,” now lives in Lausanne where he owns a Modern Art Gallery. Speaks several European languages fluently.
CHRIS AMON (New Zealand): Few have accelerated to the top so hard as this 22-year-old. Regarded by his competitors as “brilliant” for his age. Driver-of-the-Year in New Zealand before graduating to the European Circuits with Maserati and more recently McLaren. Le Mans winner 1966 and frequent pilot of Grand Prix’s GT40 camera car during the five months of filming.
BOB BONDURANT (America): Ex-motorcycle ace, former helicopter pilot, one-time insurance salesman, now the brightest of the younger Americans on the Grand Prix scene. Won the Sports Car World Manufacturers Championship in 1965. Regular camera car driver and consultant during European filming.
MICHAEL PARKES (England): Young, tall, relatively unknown until he “gatecrashed” the Ferrari factor team in 1966. To the delight of all Italy he came second at Rheims, and better still, Monza. Still insists on driving in his English-made, custom-built, suede walking shoes.
LUDOVICO SCARFIOTTI (Italy): Top of the pops in his native land for his win at Monza ’66 when Brabham and the Japanese Honda were out to get him. Started the race as No. 3 in the Ferrari team and scooped the prize. Now, seemingly, back in Formula One racing after an in-and-out career. Handsome scion of important Italian auto dynasty.
MIKE SPENCE (England): Sports the fanciest helmet on the Grand Prix circuit. Experience in the Lotus works team has stood him in good stead. Potentially one of the best of the younger men, extremely hard to beat in a competitive car.
DENNIS HULME (Australia): Second string in the super successful Brabham team. Former driver of the year in his native land and present English sports car champion who holds lap records on five English tracks. A fine support for 1966 world champion Jack Brabham, he tangled mightily with three Ferraris at Monza to snatch a courageous third place. An implacable competitor.
JOE SIFFERT (Switzerland): One of the most conscientious of world-class drivers who personifies the will to win. His big 1965 success, the Mediterranean Grand Prix at Enna at an average speed of 139.22 mph established him as the leading independent among World Championship contenders.
JOCHEN RINDT (Austria): According to his contemporaries the driver of the future. Survived one of the most spectacular 9 spins (tête à queue) in racing history at Spa Francorchamps ’66 when the majority of the field left the track for good. Occupies third place in world ranks. The man to watch in 1967.
JUAN MANUEL FANGIO (Argentina): Probably the most celebrated ex-bus driver in the world. In his youth nicknamed Chueco (bandy legs). First drove against the European aces in 1947 and then became almost unbeatable. Five times World Champion and winner of 24 Grands Prix. Came out of ten-year retirement to take part in filming of Grand Prix. His reappearance on Monza track near Milan caused a semi-riot.
NINO FARINA (Italy): Nephew of the world-famous coach, builder and designer Pinin Farina. Last of the old guard who had his training in monsters only seen in museums today. Tutored in the arts of Grand Prix racing by Nuvolari at Alfa Romeo. Nino won his only world championship in 1950 by three points from Fangio. Liked to sing as he raced and was the first to use the now almost universal arms-outstretched-head-up style of driving. Retired after driver testing his car for Indianapolis was killed. Farina himself died tragically during Grand Prix in a road crash unconnected with the filming.
LORENZO BANDINI (Italy): Anchor man in the Ferrari factory team. Opened the season well with second place in the Monaco “round the houses” GP. First of the newer breed of Italian drivers to take the place of Ascari and Musso. Almost ever-present during the five-country filming of Grand Prix. Typically volatile Italian off track. In the cockpit almost an automaton.
RICHIE GINTHER (America): Thirty-three-year-old Californian and Korean veteran. One of the best Ferrari mechanics in America, he was invited by close friend Phil Hill to co-drive the Carrera Pan Americana. Both survived horrendous crash. Likes fast circuits and fourth-gear corners. Is now top team driver for Japanese Honda and responsible for much of its development. Grand Prix racing adviser.
BRUCE McLAREN (New Zealand): Still limps from riding injury at age ten that kept him three years in hospital. First showed in Europe when Nurburgring organizers allowed him to make up the numbers in Formula II race. He won. A protégé of three-time champion Brabham, he has gift of learning any track after three or four laps in his everyday car. Now a fully fledged racing car manufacturer. Still only 29.
JACK BRABHAM (Australia): After his 1966 win, triple World Champion. Only the legendary Fangio stands ahead of him with five wins. Already 40, Jack thinks he can still beat the South American maestro’s record. Clinched the ’66 championship after a savage burst of wins in mid-season. Is now also the world’s largest producer of racing cars.
DAN GURNEY (America): Son of a Metropolitan Opera singer. One of the most gifted of California’s many top-class racers. Now President of Anglo American Racers, in partnership with Carroll Shelby. Their American Eagle seems likely to become a power in Grand Prix racing now that early wrinkles have been ironed out.
The relationship of the main characters in this film is a very close and personal one. Jarre expresses this musically, by intermingling the main characters’ identifying themes.
1. Overture The Overture contains substantial portions of the three Main Themes from the film: 1) Theme From Grand Prix—relates to all the drivers. 2) Sarti’s Love Theme—is generally used in connection with the Frenchman’s (Yves Montand) adventurous and romantic schemes; 3) Scott’s Theme—serves as background music for scenes featuring the British Jordan-BRM driver, Scott Stoddard (Brian Bedford). (4:35)
2. Scott & Pat—Sarti & Louise Unrequited love and fulfilled love. Mr. Jarre skillfully contrasts the Scott and Sarti themes. (2:20)
3. Theme From Grand Prix This version of the theme is heard at the finish of the Brands Hatch race. (1:55)
4. Sarti’s Love Theme (Bossa Nova) Employed by Jarre to underline portions of the racing sequences. (2:25)
5. The Zandvoort Race (Scott’s Comeback) The crippled Scott painfully lowers himself into his dead brother’s racing car and triumphantly roars away. The engine’s blast signals the start of the Zandvoort Race—and a glorious comeback for the determined Britisher. (5:21)
1. The Clermont Race Unusual multi-camera shots—almost kaleidoscopic in effect. Sarti is driving but his mind is on Louise. Photographically and musically the Clermont Race has the quality of a racing car “ballet.” (2:15)
2. Scott’s Theme (Bossa Nova) Heard over the loudspeakers while the Clermont Race is in progress. (2:15)
3. Sarti’s Love Theme The scene is Sarti’s apartment at the Sports Club; Sarti and Louise first realize that they are deeply in love. (4:15)
4. In the Garden A tender scene between Sarti and Louise. Music is heard coming from Barlini’s victory party which they have just left. (3:00)
5. The Lonely Race Track It is the end of the film. The grandstands are empty. Pete (James Garner), deep in thought, is seen walking down the empty track reliving in his mind the races and events we have just seen. Sarti’s Theme comes first, then the roar of the invisible racing cars, followed by another version of the stirring Theme From Grand Prix, a dedication to all racing drivers. (2:26)