Race on out and pick up this unique and exciting motion picture.
A race car driver returns to competition a year after an accident leaves him badly injured. As he prepares to face his chief rival in the famous Le Mans race, he also begins a new romance with the wife of a driver who died in the same accident that nearly killed him.
A scene from “LE MANS” may explain the need of race drivers to challenge the force of speed. In the film McQueen says:
“A lot of people go through life doing things badly. Racing’s important to men who do it well. When you’re racing, that’s life. Anything that happens before or after, is just waiting.”
Le Mans pulls onto Blu-ray with an oftentimes striking 1080p high definition transfer.
Once the film moves past a stretch of rough and soft imagery that occupies the same space as the opening titles, Paramount’s Blu-ray cleans up beautifully. A hint of softness remains in a few places, but as a general rule the image is sharp and detailing is strong.
Whether good-looking facial surfaces, the subtle texture of McQueen’s suede jacket that he wears at the beginning of the film, or the stitching and general wear-and-tear of the white racing uniforms decorated with sponsor and flag patches, this Blu-ray reveals all of the critical details that enhance the quality of the presentation.
A layer of film grain is retained over the image, suggesting the absence of debilitating noise reduction and providing a quality film-like texture. Colors are bold and beautiful in that 1970s-era look, while both blacks and flesh tones are pleasantly natural in appearance.
There are a handful of pops and speckles and stray vertical lines, but the image is far more often than not clean and pristine. Blocking, banding, and the like are non-factors. This is an incredibly strong transfer and a borderline reference-quality presentation for a title from its era.
Le Mans zooms onto Blu-ray with a satisfying and energetic DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless soundtrack. Despite the film’s age, Paramount’s 7.1 presentation is utilized extensively, with strong, natural surround elements playing a large part in bringing Le Mans to life.
Music delivery is quite good, airy and open at first, floating through the soundstage with ease and accompanied by plenty of surround support. Subsequent tracks also feature a robust low end and continue to play with fine spacing and back-channel assistance. The warning alarm plays with a wonderful crispness at the top of the high end, and opposite are explosions and crashes that play with a solid rumble low.
The pre-race loudspeaker announcements are sometimes a little hard to hear and play more as a secondary background element, but more pronounced proclamations throughout the movie are played with a true-to-life room-filling energy and clarity. Of course, the true highlight of the track is the sound of the racing automobiles.
This 7.1 track spits out the sound of revving engines and the speedy raw power of cars zipping down the racetrack with an amazing level of control that vibrates and zooms and puts the listener in the middle of the action. Absolute clarity seems slightly lacking, but there’s no denying the sheer intensity of every up-close racing sequence.
What little dialogue there is is suitably clear. Le Mans might be untraditional insofar as its lack of excessive dialogue, but this 7.1 loss less track is nevertheless a wonderful addition to the Blu-ray presentation.
For more about Le Mans and the Le Mans Blu-ray release, see the Le Mans Blu-ray Review
Starring: Steve McQueen, Siegfried Rauch, Elga Andersen, Ronald Leigh-Hunt, Alfred Bell
Director: Lee H. Katzin
On June 4, The Friends Of Steve McQueen car show will feature a LeMans theme to benefit Boy’s Republic, the school Steve McQueen went to as a young boy and credits with turning his life around. A number of racing cars from the 1970’s, including cars featured in the film will be present. Learn more about the event at The Friends Of Steve McQueen Website.
Le Mans Blu-ray is historical in its own way as the one that really hurt Steve McQueen financially and emotionally, but the movie itself is quite an adventure to watch and to get an idea of how the Le Mans race took place.