Steve McQueen: the Man & Le Mans

Steve McQueen: the Man & Le Mans

Gabriel Clarke (2015)

102min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
When "King of Cool" Steve McQueen decided to star in a drama about the Le Mans 24-hour motor race, Hollywood bigwigs must have licked their lips in anticipation of the box-office returns. After all, how could a high-speed spectacle with a car-racing superstar go wrong? However, when Le Mans was released in 1971, it ended up a financial and critical failure. With access to audio recordings and behind-the-scenes footage, directors Gabriel Clarke and John McKenna diligently reveal how McQueen's obsession with authenticity resulted in reels of actual race footage but no script, which reduced original director John Sturges - the man who moulded the McQueen persona in The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape - to little more than a frustrated bystander. Production staff, the drivers (including eventual Le Mans winner Derek Bell) and McQueen's ex-wife Neile Adams and son Chad provide fascinating insight into the maverick actor's volatile personality ("I'm not a compromiser") and his off-screen antics. Petrolheads will revel in the state-of-the-art race sequences but like Le Mans itself, this watchable documentary detailing how one man's labour of love turns to utter folly could have done with some judicious editing to create a tighter, more substantial affair.

Summary

Premiere. Feature-length documentary following Steve McQueen's efforts to make his passion project, the 1971 film Le Mans, revealing the true extent of the troubled production process. Throughout filming, Steve would lose his marriage, close friendships, control of his film and endangered lives, as he risked everything in pursuit of his dream.

Cast & Crew

Steve McQueen Steve McQueen (1)
Chad McQueen Chad McQueen
Neile Adams Neile Adams
Derek Bell Derek Bell
Alan R Trustman Alan R Trustman
David Piper David Piper
Siegfried Rauch Siegfried Rauch
Louise Edlind Louise Edlind
Director Gabriel Clarke
Director John McKenna
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: The WorksGuidance: SwearingAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 20 Nov 2015
Documentary