In 1976, French film director Claude Lelouch strapped a 35mm film camera to the front of a car, and ‘someone’, drove the car at speeds of up to 200kph through the early morning streets of Paris, without any permission from authorities.
During the 8 min film, at least two pedestrians come within feet of being hit, cars are narrowly missed, and 18 red lights are run. The whole thing was completely illegal.
To dispel a couple of myths, the car used is not a Ferrari as widely believed, but a Mercedes. The likely reason for the confusion is that the sound of a Ferrari was dubbed on later by the Director.
According to the Director’s official website, and from my working knowledge of French, it seems that Lelouche is saying these days that he was the driver of the car. This would make sense, a Director with an interest in fast cars is unlikely to make another person take such a risk for his film. The ‘race car driver’ story likely comes from the Director’s own excuse to Police after he was arrested. He claimed he took adequate precautions, hiring a racing car driver for the stunt, but would not reveal this mystery driver’s name to police.
Other interesting tidbits are a friend of Lelouche, with a walkie talkie, kept an eye on one particularly dangerous junction on the route, but this was the only precaution taken. Also. It appears there were three of them in the car during the ride.
The film, entitled ‘C’etait un Rendezvous’, has achieved cult status over the years and is now available on DVD for ordering (worldwide) from Amazon UK, and I’d recommend it for any movie buff’s collection. For a quick, low res fix,
here’s the same on Google Video, here’s a Vimeo embed…
If you speak French, or are handy with Babel Fish, you might also be interested in the Director’s own discussion forum for the film (link broken as of 2015).
Do we know what kind of Mercedes he used for the film? And why he just didn’t use that soundtrack, as apparently the car was up to the task. Maybe it didn’t sound “racy” enough? Or he coudn’t borrow an appropriate Ferrari from a friend? As there didn’t appear to be any time constraint (he could have done this ANY summer morning, I would suppose) why didn’t he wait for a Ferrari to drive if he was going to dub the sound in later?
Tom in Tulsa, OK USA
Car: Mercedes Benz 450 SEL 6.9 L V8 (produced between 1975 – 1981, same car used in the “Ronin” car chase). Auto 3-speed gearbox.
Driver (and director): Claude Lelouch?; maybe if the mistery driver story is true, probably that driver was Jacques Laffite, F1 driver in those years.
Sound: Probably Lelouch’s Ferrari 275 GTB, manual 5-speed gearbox.
Speed: Some say he drove no faster than 140 kph, some say 200 kph and Lelouch himself stated that he drove 230 kph top speed.
If the film was dubbed with Lelouch’s Ferrari, the sound is synchronised with the action.
The only way to do this is using a car dynamometer or…
using a Ferrari to film! : )
Oh yes, about the Ferrari didn’t used… well i think he has not wanted to waking up the neighbourgs so early in the morning… or avoid the police with a “silenced” car. i don’t know i just wonder.
Mais surement q´il s´agit d´un pilote profissionel ou de Rallyes ou de Formel 1 !
Á ma experience et an observant avec trés attentifment le parcours, la formule de controller la voiture en curve dans les changement de direction et derrapages controlées, je suis trés bien en croire n´est pas un pilote de F1 mais plus en realité um pilote de Rallyes ( Bernard Darniche, l´un dés fréres Almeras, Jean Ragnotti et pourquai pas un autre pilote de rallyes ne pas francais mais surement, quelque un qui au minimum, a fait le reconnaissance du parcours plusieres de fois, en vis a reduire aux minimum quelque sort d´accident et, j´ai fait rallyes en Audi quattro group B, en en plusieres d´autres et je vous assure qui c´est deplacement ne se attient pas á la premiere foix !!!!
Il peux regarder qui j´ai registrê, au minimum 4 situations reals de emminance de colision qui seul une pilote de rallyes sait controller par antecipation en jouant avec le balancement de la voiture et la traction arriere ! Avec um voiture traction avant tout ça devient – a cette vitesses – impossible de realizer sans, au minimum deux collisions que il soit la annoncé vitesse !
J´ai dit !
commentairs sont bien venues !