My dad send me a link to Claude Lelouch's 1976 film 'C'etait Un Rendezvous' today. I've never seen it before but I must say - it's pretty captivating. The film was set in Paris as is supposed to be a gyroscopic camera attached to the front of a Ferrari 275 GTB. The driver, a previous Formula 1 star whos identity remains hidden to this day, drives at speeds up to 146mph through the centre of early morning Paris.
There is some dispute as to wheather or not a Ferrari was used - it is said to be a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 with the sound of a Ferrari dubbed over the top. There's also disagreeance over the top speed achieved. Whatever the case, we should all bow down to willing suspension of disbelife as it is a wonderful piece of film and well worth nine minutes of your time.
The feeling of speed is incredible as the car slides and screeches round the Arc de Triomphe, Opera Garnier, and Place de la Concorde with pigeons scattering and red lights being completely ignored. Although the driver his obviously skilled he is effectively trusting to luck that he's not going to get hit by a bus, stopped by the police or collide with on-coming traffic. You can't help feeling like you shouldn't be watching this nine minutes of pure seat-of-the-pants danger. Its wrong on so many levels. What if he'd hit someone? Crashed into a building? Been stopped by the law? The many possible conquences don't bear thinking about but it does give you a wonderful little thrill to be part of it for the duration of the film.
These days it would be seen as mindless stupidity - I daresay you can easily view similar modern-day equivilents online - but the magic of the early morning, the noise of the engine, 1970's Paris and the fact its supposedly a vintage Ferrari all combine to make it somehow seem ok.
The Director was arrested shortly after he screened the film for not revealing who the driver was.