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Thursday Trivia

Robert Emslie May 25, 2017 Thursday Trivia 1 Comment

Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars! 

This week’s question: In the 1966 movie Grand Prix why did Yves Montand’s helmet design change half-way through the film?

If you think you know the answer, make the jump (or scroll you mobile-using animals) and see if you’re right.

Movies about auto racing oftentimes fail to capture the visceral excitement that’s possessed by the actual event. John Frankenheimer’s 1966 picture, Grand Prix is one of the few that actually succeeds.

Not only is the wheel to wheel action authentic, but so is much of the cast. Brian Bedford was the only one of the four lead actors in the film not to do his own driving, while real racers Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Richie Ginther, Lorenzo Bandini, Jim Clark, Bob Bondurant, and Jack Brabham made appearances.

Frankenheimer’s obsession with accuracy extended to ensuring that the cast’s wardrobe reflected that of real world racers. That resulted in a mid-shoot change for Yves Montand’s character that you might just have missed.

From :

Early in the movie, Yves Montand’s helmet design is that of John Surtees, who was driving for Ferrari at the beginning of the 1966 season. But Surtees left Ferrari for Cooper after two races, and therefore footage of the real Ferrari with Surtees driving was no longer available. Mike Parkes replaced him at Ferrari, and Montand’s helmet design changes to that of Parkes for the remainder of the movie. No reason is given in the movie for the change.

That’s a far more subtle break in continuity than say Repo Man‘s magically switching Oldsmobiles or the Ford Mustang that amazingly changes which two wheels it balances on in Diamonds are Forever. Still, now that you know, will you ever look at Grand Prix the same way again?


  • marcramsey

    I was 12 when my dad took we to see this at a Cinerama theater when it was first released. The sights and sounds made for an amazing experience, far more immersive than IMAX.


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