Grand Prix HD DVD
Title: Grand Prix
Year of Release:2006
Film Studio: Warner Bros
Genre: Racing, Drama
Running Time: 177 minutes
Detailed review of recording:
Welcome to the world of Formula 1 race car driving! This film captures the adrenaline and the drama that is formula 1 racing. John Frankenheimer (Ronin) masterfully directs this story about the lives of race car drivers both on and off the track. It stars James Garner as driver Pete Aron, who is one of many drivers competing in a nine leg Formula 1 world championship. Garner is joined by a fine cast, including Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Toshiro Mifune, Brian Bedford, Jessica Walter, and Antonio Sabato.
And while the cast do a very fine job, it's the cars, the drivers, and the race itself that are the real stars. The film is beautifully shot on locations across Europe with vistas that are breathtaking. This film was a landmark achievement back in 1966, and won 3 academy awards.
Something that was rare in films back then, was actors shown actually racing. Most times actors were placed on a sound stage with a back projection screen behind them. Seeing that everything you are watching is "real" and not just make believe, makes the film that much more involving.
This VC-1 encoded 2:2:1 HD DVD is without a doubt the best looking HD DVD movie I have seen. And being that the film was released theatrically in 1966 makes it even more remarkable! The detail, colors, and the absence of grain, make this transfer a definite show off for HD DVD. Both the daytime and the nighttime scenes have wonderful 3 dimensionality and the shadow detail and the deep blacks just add to the amazing picture. Warner used the original 65mm Super Panavision 70 negative and painstakingly restored the transfer. Well all that hard work really payed off with this release as they did an outstanding job!
The Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 sound, while not quite up there with the phenomenal picture quality, is well done. The sound is pretty much kept up front, there is the occasional directional effect and some ambiance but the surrounds get limited use. It's not a sound transfer that will knock your socks off, but for it's time it fits the film well.
Hats off to Warner for this near perfect HD DVD release. Grand Prix is grand indeed.