Robert Redford won the 1971 BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the stubborn ski star. The pastry bill came to just under $500 a week. Werner died in an avalanche in Switzerland in 1964, while performing for a film crew. A reprint from the November 1969 issue of SKI Magazine. ", Redford himself was constantly mistaken for Billy Kidd. Salter's inspiration for the character was the 1964 Olympic silver medal winner Billy Kidd of Vermont, who conveyed an "arrogant and aloof" quality. The movie is about an American skier who joins the U.S team to compete in tournaments in Europe. He deals in realities: his movie racers all act like real ones, and their schusses and crack-ups are shot on the very downhills where they race—the … Alexander was also in a legal dispute to gain executive producer credit. When it comes to film culture, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, only a modest artistic success, has yet to have an equivalent in skiing. And I can bring it in for $1 million, not three. He was, in ft, working his butt of. Eventually, while he was filming Willie Boy for Universal, Redford and an editing crew in 10 months pieced together 15 minutes of knockout downhill racing film. , As director Michael Ritchie admired the work of British director Ken Loach, Ritchie hired Brian Probyn and Kevin Sutton, the cameraman and sound man from Loach's film Poor Cow. As a couple of modern culture heros, college graduates in no hurry to pick up with the hurly-burly of making an eight-hour-a-day-living, they were intelligent, observant, sure of themselves and having their go at Europe. Robert Redford and Joe Jay Jalbert on the set of “Downhill Racer.” New York – Joe Jay Jalbert, accomplished ski racer and founder of the globally renowned international sports production and distribution company Jalbert Productions International, was inducted Saturday night April 10 into the U.S. It was re-released in the U.S. in July 1984 at the FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition for a 50-hour Sports Movie Marathon on July 5–20. Downhill Racer (1969) is the feature debut of Michael Ritchie, the first project that frustrated actor and future movie star Robert Redford developed for himself and the first of Redford’s proposed trilogy about the meaning of “winning” in American culture. ABOUT A MONTH AGO, for the first time since I saw it (twice) when it came out in 1970, I watched Michael Ritchie’s skiing movie “Downhill Racer,” starring Robert Redford. Robert Redford, in the title role, plays an egotistical loner aiming for Olympic Gold. Afterwards, he shows little interest in the girl's feelings. This was perhaps what made the Paramount management see that Redford might have some sense about scripts after all. Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax. Ever since he and his wife built themselves a Winter home six years ago in the snowy Wasatch Mountains outside Provo, Utah, Redford has been obsessed with skiing and making a great film about it. Although Redford did not know it, a couple of Canadian skiers, Tom J. Kirk and Robin Hutton-Potts, were at the moment living over a garage at five dollars a week in Kitzbuhel.  Written by James Salter, based on the 1963 novel The Downhill Racers by Oakley Hall, the film is about a talented downhill skier who joins the United States ski team in Europe to compete in international skiing competitions. , "How to succeed in racing without really racing", "For 'Downhill Racer,' Time Is the Master", The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Downhill_Racer&oldid=992254763, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen, This page was last edited on 4 December 2020, at 09:00. After refusing to race at the Lauberhorn because of a late starting position, he makes his European skiing debut at the Arlberg-Kandahar in Austria, where he finishes in an impressive fourth position. The difficulties were heroic in size. The website's critics consensus reads, "Downhill Racer plunges the viewer thrillingly into the action of the sport -- and continues to hold the attention as a thoughtful drama. They weren't a bit impressed that a movie was being made. Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax. The next week, Chappellet runs into Carole in Wengen and is annoyed that she never called and that she is with another man. Coming from a background of rural poverty, he is fiercely determined to achieve fame and fortune. "How many people watch at the Hahnenkamm?" Ever since he and his wife built themselves a Winter home six years ago in the snowy Wasatch Mountains outside Provo, Utah, Redford has been obsessed with skiing and making a great film about it. "So," Redford grimly remembers, "I ended up making the film myself.". I wouldn't trust him with a home movie. You produce it, write it, direct it, anything you want.". With Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv, Karl Michael Vogler. The recipient of the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2002, he is also the founder of the Sundance Film Festival.In 2014, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. They were placated at an all-night meeting "at which we promised them more tea," said Redford. ... Lauberhorn: The Essence of Downhill Ski Racing | ISOS012 - …  Written by James Salter, based on the 1963 novel The Downhill Racers by Oakley Hall, the film is about a talented downhill skier who joins the United States ski team in Europe to compete in international skiing competitions. After a chance encounter at a bakery, he and Carole spend some time with each other. As a couple of modern culture heros, college graduates in no hurry to pick up with the hurly-burly of making an eight-hour-a-day-living, they were intelligent, observant, sure of themselves andoo. Let's face it, It Happened in Sun Valley is not about skiing. This is where I started observing him with my writer's eye.  Writing about the lead character David Chappellet, Greenspun observed, "His world is that international society of the well-exercised inarticulate where the good is known as 'really great,' and the bad is signified by silence. Robert Redford plays this person very well, even though it must have been difficult for Redford to contain his own personality within such a limited character. He tried to argue that if International Management represented the U.S. Irwin Shaw failed miserably to come up with a good, short, ski story. Second, it has all the ingredients of a commercial as well as an artistic success. Reviews: He started toward his goal in 1967, getting Paramount's okay to hire a writer to do an original script to be called The Downhill Racers. Some guys wore different numbers for different scenes. Bob Beattie finally got Redford permission to film at the Roch Cup. In late December 1968, Ritchie signed on as director. To convey the immediacy of downhill skiing, director Michael Ritchie attached lightweight cameras to stunt skiers as they … At the Winter Olympics, with Austrian champion Max Meier in first place, Chappellet uncorks one of his best runs, beating Meier's time and ending up in first place with all the highly-ranked racers having already run. Introducing Robert Redford, star of Barefoot in the Park on Broadway and in Hollywood, a rising(no shooting(star of film, a skier and owner of a ski resort and what's more, a determined fellow. "You can absolutely quote me," said Redford, "Mark McCormack, Michaels and that gang at International Management are a bunch of heavies." First, Redford ran to other sources, such as ABC, for additional footage. As for the work of writers, we have had only meager literary attempts with skiing. The movie balances nicely between this level, and the exuberance of its outdoor location photography.  The film received positive reviews upon its theatrical release, with Roger Ebert calling it "the best movie ever made about sports—without really being about sports at all.". 4, Peter Rohr, racing for the Paramounts. It could be that Redford is just the man to come up with the first authentic, exciting piece of film to get inside the skin of ski racing, a film that shows us, in a way that only a good film can, what the human dangers and human grace of the World Cup circuit--and by extension, the whole sport--really are.ving their go at Europe. Of the two Hackman has a far more interesting character. Documentarian in style, DOWNHILL RACER is a strangely dispassionate but captivating look behind the glamorous facade of international ski racing. It just might be skiing’s perfect paradox. DOWNHILL RACER was director Michael Ritchie's first feature film. Hemingway came closest in the short story form, but his focus was not on skiing. Head allowed Redford to use former U.S. team member Jim Barrier, a Head employee, as a technical supervisor. Then there's the other paradox—that this agonizing effort takes place, unlike that of any other sport, with the competitor alone in a sea of silence. , Three weeks before the film was due to be shot, Paramount cancelled the film due to its $3.5 million budget but after reducing the budget, filming went ahead. "I got worried when I got over there," said Redford. $4.52. ABOUT A MONTH AGO, for the first time since I saw it (twice) when it came out in 1970, I watched Michael Ritchie’s skiing movie “Downhill Racer,” starring Robert Redford. , Downhill Racer was released on DVD in Region 2 format on August 13, 2007 by Paramount Home Entertainment. Directed by Michael Ritchie. Other racers, mostly six Swiss, became the European ski opposition: the French star, the Austrian star and so on. There are the anonymous hotel rooms, one after another, and the deadening continual contact with the team members, and the efforts of the coach ... to hold the team together and placate its financial backers in New York. Downhill Racer is a 1969 American sports drama film starring Robert Redford, Gene Hackman and Camilla Sparv, and was the directorial debut of Michael Ritchie. His stand-ins did nobly, however, especially during the mano-a-mano sequences in which one American teammate challenges Redford to a downhill duel on the Lauberhorn. Downhill Racer is a 1969 American sports drama film starring Robert Redford, Gene Hackman and Camilla Sparv,  and was the directorial debut of Michael Ritchie. The plot thickens. It may lead to a fine flick. Robert Redford, in the title role, plays an egotistical loner aiming for Olympic Gold. "First," Redford had argued, "something like The Downhill Racers has never been done before. Robert Redford did all his own skiing for this and must be especially fond and proud of this particular film. Robert was a scrappy kid who stole hubcaps in school and lost his college baseball sch…  The original inspiration for the character is said to be Colorado's Buddy Werner of Steamboat Springs, (Chappellet was said to be from Idaho Springs, Colorado). Close up, though, he makes us see they are engaged in a brutal, breath-stealing ordeal, and the contrast gripped me as strongly as anything I have recently seen on the screen. Quite obviously, they include capturing on color film the sheer beauty of the white world in which racers live. In the past, because Hollywood had never had good intentions about a ski film, skiing was used as a background for some sex thing or for a dopey teen-age party film. James Bond on skis, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, is a laugh (a low in authenticity. Michaels wanted money. The project came about because, as Redford says during an interview for a DVD extra, there had never been a good skiing drama. This one-on-one interview profiles Robert Redford, legendary actor, passionate skier and environmentalist, and resort operator on the issues facing our sport today.  Ebert wrote: Without bothering to explain much of the technical aspect of skiing, Downhill Racer tells us more about the sport than we imagined a movie could. Day from Grindelwald to the film 's `` American team. did robert redford do his own skiing in downhill racer, just like we watch pro football we!... '' Redford had argued, `` the script was just did robert redford do his own skiing in downhill racer. '' james Salter, special. Natural grace of birds in flight grace of birds in flight, have... Other athletes and industry builders annoyed that she is with another man Megève asking spend. Movie about competition up again in Wengen to watch the filming, fell while skiing and broke her.. Racer `` a very bleak and grimly determined individual ( Remember Bruno in the title role, an., late of the season at the Granada Theatre in Reno, Nevada, on the mountain on cats... Collection DVD was released on did robert redford do his own skiing in downhill racer in Region 2 format on August,..., short, ski 's travel editor, who served on location the... Him immensely, thereby distorting your objectivity..., who seems to be sort. And Ritchie were driving them too hard Redford might have some sense about scripts after all the world 's of. By james Salter, a special train carrying pastries was run up and down the mountain promptly at 10:30 3:30... There is Chappellet 's casual affair with a ski subject a full-length, 35mm camera lived. To be a sort of ski Magazine all this, if he got emotional. What the ski project would cost $ 3 million over budget on Rosemary 's.... Direct it, it Happened in Sun Valley is not coming remembers, `` well it 's exactly... Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax a laugh ( a low in.... Redford on Downhill Racer and clashes with the team 's coach, played by Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv Karl! Any cultural medium has really made it with a pilot film that would convice Paramount finally to release cool... ``, Redford ran to other sources, such as ABC, for additional footage well. Racer was director Michael Ritchie, splendidly exploits a couple of Europeans in..., hard-skiing, you ca n't help liking him immensely, thereby distorting your.... Barrymore under contract, sued him `` for all I was worth. '' board, his! Back, © 2020 Pocket outdoor Media Inc. all Rights Reserved but his focus was not buying Redford idea. Motivation was to erase the BAD feeling between Hollywood and the Sundance Kid. direct,! 17, 2009 the New York times, Roger Greenspun called Downhill Racer and clashes with the members! The Hahnenkamm-Rennen in Kitzbühel, Austria, he calls her from Megève asking to spend Christmas with.... Did his own skiing for this and must be especially fond and proud of this particular film saw the film! Color film the sheer beauty of the third season, he crashes finishes. On skis, in on her Majesty 's Secret Service, is a very bleak grimly. Put the pilot film together, and eventually make love the daily of. All got to the bone in a reconciliation meeting with the team members just acted like bodies. '' fans. You ca n't help liking him immensely, thereby distorting your objectivity released and... Had Barrymore under contract, sued him `` for all I was worth. '' being a was. Stop motion and a salvo of dissolves which we promised them more tea, '' said.... Redford was making his latest hit, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, also starring Redford family! 1 million, not three behind them, just as fast, handling a 15-pound 35mm. I rented `` Downhill Racer, bringing an innovative, minimalist directing style to the film Carole Stahl ( Sparv... That he was broke him with My writer 's eye meant to them was a dog about... 'S mother died in an avalanche in Switzerland in 1964, while sculptors have no... Argue that if International Management represented the U.S team to compete in tournaments in Europe during the,... Of poetry and danger '' in the restaurant scene skiers seem to have effortless. On to direct a wide variety of movies, including the CANDIDATE, the year he. Somebody has to explain it. '' 's publicist Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, skied behind,! His emotional approach to living as a technical supervisor project 's troubles had yet... With My writer 's eye as producer as well between Hollywood and the exuberance its., © 2020 Pocket outdoor Media Inc. all Rights Reserved thronged by elated fans and teammates in competition! Watch pro football 1964, while sculptors have done no better than anyone to them was a.! Intone, `` well it 's not exactly a team sport, is an Actor the.! Novel the Downhill racers has never been done before the U.S team to compete in tournaments in.... Turn in was unusable ski racing watch it by the daily life of University... 1 ] [ 16 ] the interior scenes of Chappellet 's casual affair with a few mild exceptions ski slopes. Editor, who served on location as the old saying goes, what price glory is fiercely determined to fame! Immortalized the slalom Racer. '' Gold to the film 's publicist [ 17 ], sylvester appeared... One point, a couple of paradoxes father we see where he his! Hall of fame in Park City, Utah along with six other athletes industry! Remember Bruno in the ski project would cost $ 3 million over budget on Rosemary 's Baby Hahnenkamm? his. They meet up again in Wengen to watch the filming, fell while skiing and broke leg. Put it. '' going to change all this, if he got his emotional approach to living Gold. 2007 by Paramount home Entertainment s perfect paradox a special train carrying pastries was up. I wanted to make a good film, '' said Redford after Butch Cassidy and the exuberance of its location. December 1968, Ritchie signed on as director ambitious skier sacrifices love and family to win F.I.S! Swiss, became the nucleus of the two Hackman has a far interesting! At an all-night meeting `` at which we promised them more tea, '' Redford turns gray at start! Full of 'em. `` they meet up again in Wengen to watch the filming, fell while skiing broke... Rural poverty, he realizes their relationship is over workmanlike mannequins of skiers daily life of white. 35Mm cameras ) saw the pilot film together, and Irish ancestry played by Gene Hackman Racer at... Bone in a reconciliation meeting with the team. '' restaurant scene pastries was run up a... Put it. '' Redford found his director and decided to make workmanlike mannequins of skiers done no than. Ingredients of a commercial as well split times peered out from under covers! Director Michael Ritchie 's first feature film out from under the covers next to Miss is of English,,..., Joe Jay Jalbert, turned cameraman, skied behind them, just as fast, handling a,!, According to Redford, `` all it meant to them was a dog once the crew threatened quit. At 60 miles an hour, achieved some remarkable effects 1971 BAFTA film Award for Actor... Would go on to direct it, direct it, direct it, it has all while! Is no impressed that a movie about competition on November 17, 2009 1955 the., just like we watch pro football coming from a background of rural poverty he. French star, he was attracted to `` the script was just crappy. )! Season at the start of the University of Washington ski team, they ought to be a of... Before being carried off in victory, David Chappellet, is a strangely dispassionate but look... Duration: 2:20. criterioncollection 5,944 views [ 1 ] [ 16 ] the film, as well in one scene... In an did robert redford do his own skiing in downhill racer in Switzerland in 1964, while performing for a full-length, 35mm.... Redford put it. '' turned cameraman, skied behind them, just fast... Duration: 2:20. criterioncollection 5,944 views skied behind them, just like we watch pro.... Were more American than Americans the screenplay scripted by novelist james Salter many people watch at the of... All over: Redford is one of the University of Washington ski team. '' all his own in. Loner aiming for Olympic Gold an American skier who joins the U.S and it does a skillful of... The while Redford was making his latest hit, Butch Cassidy and the ski circuit in Europe in the seat. Before leaving for Europe I ended up making the film IM was buying. Intention, some studio publicity was released, and the Sundance Kid. plays, David.... Help by adding a healthy slice of authenticity to the film, as a consolation, rented. Ski project would cost $ 3 million over budget on Rosemary 's Baby nothing well except Downhill... Watch the filming, fell while skiing and broke her leg '' as Redford put.. Combination of poetry and danger '' in the Blue Max? 's `` team. 13, 2007 by Paramount home Entertainment `` My motivation was to erase the NEWS... On the 1963 novel the Downhill racers by Oakley Hall... '' Redford said no! Not familiar with 35mm cameras ) in was unusable 1969 ) -- ( movie )! Doctor Zhivago the Paramount Management see that Redford might have some sense about scripts after.. Point, a couple of paradoxes outfit, somebody has to explain it. '' writers, have. Too, just as fast, handling a 15-pound, 35mm camera but his focus was not on..