Steve McQueen -The Man & Le Mans on Showtime is the best documentary ever made about “The King Of Cool.” Steve McQueen was a rare combination of strong conflicting forces. He was a brilliant actor, accomplished motorcycle and race car driver, astute businessman and loving father. He was also a philandering husband, unnecessary risk-taker, and one of the most insecure men ever to be a movie star.
All of these forces came to a head when McQueen set up his own production company to make a movie called Le Mans, about the world-famous 24 hour French auto race. But Steve McQueen was not content to just make a regular Hollywood movie with a romantic plot where car racing was a backdrop. McQueen was obsessed with filming something where the audience would truly feel exactly what it was like to be racing in a car at 260 miles per hour. He was so obsessed with the feel of the race that he ignored other aspects of the movie. They were millions of dollars into production and there was still no script or even a plot. People began to realize that maybe McQueen didn’t really know what he was doing.
At the same time the movie set was a disaster, McQueen was trying to turn Le Mans into a fun family bonding experience. He had brought his wife Neile Adams and their son Chad to Le Mans and they all lived in a rented castle.
Steve McQueen had conflicting goals in his life. He was having illicit sex with beautiful actresses in his movie trailer every day, and then going home to his lovely wife and son after work.
At the same time Steve McQueen was being disloyal to his wife, he demanded absolute loyalty from everyone around him. One of his close advisors called the studio chiefs to report that the movie was over budget. After that call, Steve McQueen never spoke to that man again for the rest of his life.
One of the most crushing moments in Steve McQueen’s life came when his wife Neile Adams admitted that she too and once had an affair. Although Steve had been unfaithful hundreds of times, he just could not forgive her.
In the end; Le Mans the movie was made and opened to mixed reviews. People were not sure what to make of this new gritty, realistic style.
Le Mans still has a cult following today, with car enthusiasts praising it as the most true-to-life car film ever made. Race car drivers themselves praise it as the one film that depicts who they truly are. Steve McQueen would be very pleased with that.
- We Rate Steve McQueen -The Man & Le Mans Five Stars *****
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