did robert redford do his own skiing in downhill racer
"Thirty thousand? The Redford operation, which was courageously trying to do all the filming on the actual courses instead of on faked courses or studio setups, caused some consternation in Europe. Where other skier-extras froze and got wooden-faced in front of the cameras, these two Canadians were more American than Americans. ... Lauberhorn: The Essence of Downhill Ski Racing | ISOS012 - … He is of English, Scottish, Cornish, and Irish ancestry. ", Redford, the Catsuit Kid, skied no more that he had to. ... That insistence on the heart of the matter, winning or losing, is not the least of Downhill's virtues, but there are others. During the off-season, Chappellet and Carole continue to see each other. The screenplay for Downhill Racer is loosely based on the 1963 novel The Downhill Racers by Oakley Hall. Jay Michaels of IM was not buying Redford's idea. Generally speaking, painters have created stony-looking skiers, while sculptors have done no better than to make workmanlike mannequins of skiers. "So," Redford grimly remembers, "I ended up making the film myself.". Ueli Gertsch, of ski binding fame, and Marc Hodler, president of FIS, skiing's international governing body, got permission for Redford to run his "racers" before and after four of the World Cup events of 1969: the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbuhel, Austria; the Arlberg-Kandahar at St. Anton, Austria; the Lauberhorn at Wengen, Switzerland; the Grand Prix at Megeve, France. The difficulties were heroic in size. Quietly cocky Robert Redford joins U.S. ski team as downhill racer and clashes with the team's coach, played by Gene Hackman. 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. Despite Paramount's intention, some studio publicity was released crediting Hall. I am a businessman." Insiders of ski racing will see a great deal in Downhill Racer that is familiar to them, which is a tribute to Redford's doggedness. Chappellet is unfeeling for his competitors, unkind to his … When David goes home to visit his father we see where he got his emotional approach to living. Hemingway came closest in the short story form, but his focus was not on skiing. Redford, tired but game, has just brought home the footage needed from Europe: 300,000 feet of 35mm and 16mm film shot largely in World Cup races at St. Anton, Kitzbuhel, Megeve and Wengen. Further, Redford had Barrymore under contract to put the pilot film together, but Barrymore simply threw up his hands and left. He meant the million. Sundance Resort, Robert Redford’s idyllic Utah retreat, offers a luxury experience in a down-home setting that Recalls the golden age of the sport. Bob Beattie had been considered as the technical advisor, but for starters, he had asked more money than the director, Ritchie, was getting. Robert Redford did all his own skiing for this and must be especially fond and proud of this particular film. And they watch it by the million on TV too, just like we watch pro football. According to Redford, "All it meant to them was a free lunch. At 155 pounds and six feet, he is a light, almost slender fellow who belies his appearance by the way he skis (he can bomb pretty well) and the way he works (with unbelievable intensity). Also, if you could build your own ski … 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. In late December 1968, Ritchie signed on as director. When an actor of Redford's stature gambles several hundred thousand dollars, because there haven't been many parts written for a man in a leg cast, not since The Man Who Came to Dinner, and there are not likely to be any available, either. Redford won't play just any part. People were calling in from all over: Redford is one of the hottest properties in film; everyone wanted him. When Bludhorn saw the pilot film he turned to Redford and said, "Go ahead, you've got it." Coming from a background of rural poverty, he is fiercely determined to achieve fame and fortune. Astonishing Alpine location photography and a young Robert Redford in one of his earliest starring roles are just two of the visual splendors of Downhill Racer, the visceral debut feature of Michael Ritchie. 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. He was also conferring on new lifts for his resort, Sundance, next to his chalet (a hop from Alta, a place Sundance may eventually outshine). Downhill Racer was released in 1969 with a star-studded cast that included Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, and even a cameo from Sylvester Stallone. Ski Hall of Fame in Park City, Utah along with six other athletes and industry builders. The English crew had to be run up and down the mountain on snow cats because they did not ski. Joe Jay and the rest of the cast did "gag reel shots" to relieve the constant boredom of waiting for their turns or for the sun to come out. Back in France that winter, Chappellet wins the Grand Prix de Megève in France and soon attracts the attention of Machet (Karl Michael Vogler), a ski manufacturer who wants Chappellet to use his skis for the advertising value. ", According to Redford, Charles G. Bludhorn, chairman of the Paramount board, had his own ideas. Charles Robert Redford Jr. (born August 18, 1936) is a retired American actor, director and activist. This was more than was shot on Doctor Zhivago. Of the two Hackman has a far more interesting character. This was perhaps what made the Paramount management see that Redford might have some sense about scripts after all. Not that there have been many. Downhill Racer (1969) -- (Movie Clip) Ruts Up To My Knees. One gag reel shot shows a stark naked skier coming down in full egg position. Hall filed a counterclaim against Paramount. Charles Bluhdorn, who was Austrian, may have influenced the decision on film locations; he created the production company Wildwood.. Ritchie made his directorial debut with Downhill Racer , bringing an innovative, minimalist directing style to the screenplay scripted by novelist James Salter. Sylvester Stallone appeared in one scene as an extra in his film debut. Then, when he and Barrymore came back to film the Roch Cup at Aspen, Redford discovered that the races had been signed up by International Management representing the U.S. It was not possible to buy just plain pastries in Switzerlandthe train carried the world's finest. At Kitzbühel, Chappellet wins the Hahnenkamm, but afterwards his cockiness alienates his teammates and his coach who feel he is only out for himself. I have seen him come skiing almost over his head down the trails at Alta and Sundance, with his knee still bad and when there was no reason for it except that he wanted to go fast for the hell of it. He never does quite understand why. Before the lawsuit, Paramount had already deleted reference to Hall in advertising and on screen and sought an injunction from Hall interfering with distribution and claiming the film was based on his book. 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. Quite obviously, they include capturing on color film the sheer beauty of the white world in which racers live. American downhill skier David Chappellet (Robert Redford) arrives in Wengen, Switzerland, to join the U.S. ski team, along with fellow newcomer D. K. Bryan (Kenneth Kirk). , "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. Coming from a background of rural poverty, he is fiercely determined to achieve fame and fortune. Two weeks before the Olympics, after a day of training at Wengen, Chappellet challenges Creech to a one-on-one race, and the two take off to the bottom as the coaches looks on in horror. Chappellet is unfeeling for his competitors, unkind to his … In the beginning Redford had taken Barrymore and his crew to the Grenoble Olympics and made up disguises for them so they could sneak past the official French camera crews. Natalie Wood, in Wenggen to watch the filming, fell while skiing and broke her leg. That April, while a last few feet of film were being shot at Idaho Springs, Colorado, Redford was at his Wasatch chalet. After a brief confrontation, he realizes their relationship is over. When he completed the film Barefoot in the Park, which as a play had made him into a Broadway stage star, Redford vehemently turned down a lead in Blue, a western. He tried to argue that if International Management represented the U.S.  Schickel wrote: Downhill Racer is precisely what we have waited so long to see—a small, tense, expertly made (and, on occasion, surprisingly funny) film about a newly chic form of athletic competition—Alpine skiing. There were no studio shots in the film; it was filmed 100 percent on location, at the heart of the World Cup racing circuit. 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. Mayo responds, "Well it's not exactly a team sport, is it?" A reprint from the November 1969 issue of SKI Magazine. Such were the conditions fo the filming. Alexander was also in a legal dispute to gain executive producer credit. Reviews: The European announcers would intone, "And here is No. in Wengen to watch the filming, fell while skiing and broke her leg. ", Bludhorn, in Redford's version, said, "All right, you seem to know so much about it, I'll tell you what I'll do.  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. He ran into opposition from Robert Riger of ABC who had included some French TV network footage in the network's reels of the Olympics, (part of which Redford wanted to use). 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. Vitals Robert Redford as Dave Chappellet, U.S. Olympic ski team star Wengen, Switzerland, Winter 1967 Film: Downhill Racer Release Date: November 6, 1969 Director: Michael Ritchie Costume Designer: Edith Head (uncredited!) 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. Downhill Racer casts Robert Redford as a would be American skiing champion who has a royal high opinion of himself and has to be brought down to earth by his coach Gene Hackman. Brought in to replace an injured skier, David Chapellett (Robert Redford, doing most of his own skiing) on his first day with the American Alpine team, bridling with coach Claire (Gene Hackman) and jousting a bit with teammate D-K (Kenneth Kirk) in Michael Ritchie's Downhill Racer, 1969. Featured Products TCM Annual Catalog: 2019 Edition. The project came about because, as Redford says during an interview for a DVD extra, there had never been a good skiing drama. Sundance Institute With the financial proceeds of his acting success, starting with his salaries from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Downhill Racer, Redford bought an entire ski area on the east side of Mount Timpanogos northeast of Provo, Utah, called "Timp Haven", which was renamed " Sundance ". Our exclusive interview with Robert Redford headlines the January issue of SKI. asked Abby Rand, SKI's travel editor, who served on location as the film's publicist. And "A Sport and a Pastime" was the first thing I read of his, and that's what drew me to him. Dating from 1969, Downhill Racer holds up remarkably well both as a character study and a visually impressive journey into the world of Olympic skiing. 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. ("The script was just crappy.") Let's face it, It Happened in Sun Valley is not about skiing. Werner died in an avalanche in Switzerland in 1964, while performing for a film crew. In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars, calling it "the best movie ever made about sports—without really being about sports at all. Redford started again in 1968 with a tentative okay to make a film which would prove that "two hours of snow won't make an audience feel cold.". Ski Team and sold to Pontiac, so that Redford had no right to shoot (as at the Olympics, but in Aspen interlopers were easier to spot), and that Barrymore had signed to film the races for Pontiac. $4.52. A handful of good draftsmen and painters have come up with compositions of the sport that are not all bad, but nothing compares with the effect that a Dufy or a Homer created for, say, the sport of sailing. On the way down, Chappellet forces Creech into the stone wall of a narrow-arched bridge (Jungfrau railway overpass Wasserstation), and Creech barely escapes injury. "How many people watch at the Hahnenkamm?" "First," Redford had argued, "something like The Downhill Racers has never been done before. First, Redford ran to other sources, such as ABC, for additional footage. Joe Jay, enacting a fall for one sequence, overdid and wiped out three spectators (a new high for authenticity on the project. 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. It just might be skiing’s perfect paradox. Up-and-coming ski racing talent Mikaela Shiffrin entered the start house on Friday morning at her first career World Cup race competing in a giant slalom in the Czech Republic. Done by James Salter, a fine writer living in Aspen, the script was rejected. I'll take a chance. 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. For the film, the "sheriff" is the lead racer on the team who breaks his leg, and Chappellet is called in to replace him. ", Redford himself was constantly mistaken for Billy Kidd. The next day, during the Lauberhorn race, Creech is seriously injured during his run, leaving Chappellet as the team's best hope for an Olympic gold medal. At one point, a special train carrying pastries was run up twice a day from Grindelwald to the Klein Scheidegg. Michaels wanted money. (One of the problems was that all sequences for a given race had to be filmed either in all sun or all overcast, whatever the weather had been in the actual race, so that the "fiction shots" would match the "fact shots" filmed at the real race). Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax. 4, Peter Rohr, racing for the Paramounts. You say it can be made for around a million. The whole first year of The Downhill Racers project thus hinged on the man Redford picked to film the 1968 Olympics, the heart of the pilot film: ski film maker, Dick Barrymore. Meanwhile, in the 2009 interview with the Criterion Collection, Robert Redford says it was his idea to bring on Polanski, that they bonded over their mutual desire to make a ski film, but Paramount wanted Polanski to do Rosemary’s Baby, eventually making a deal that Polanski couldn’t refuse in order to drop Downhill Racer. After waiting several days alone, Chappellet realizes that she is not coming. downhill race. Polansky was $3 million over budget on Rosemary's Baby. 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. 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. He plays a man who does nothing well except ski downhill -- and does that better than anyone. 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. Robert's mother died in 1955, the year after he graduated from high school. Werner burst upon the downhill racing scene in Europe in the late 1950s and was the first American to win an F.I.S. Redford has a tough, independent streak in him: he once took a year off with no notice to his agent to relax in Spain with his wife, Lola, and their two kids. They were marvelous.". Both want to bring some skiing gold to the USA and away from those snowy European countries that dominate. It took a nervy fellow to conceive of the project and carry it through to completion. 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. Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax. In appreciating that world, its pathos, its narcissism, its tensions, and its sufficient moments of glory, Downhill Racer succeeds with sometimes chilling efficiency.". This one-on-one interview profiles Robert Redford, legendary actor, passionate skier and environmentalist, and resort operator on the issues facing our sport today. I wanted to make a good film," said Redford. , Sylvester Stallone appeared as an extra in the restaurant scene. Redford likes to live on the think edge. This time, in addition to getting my Redford fix, I realized for the first time how accurately the film portrays downhill, as a lifestyle and a sport. Wardrobe Credit: Cynthia May Background Let’s kick off a winter #CarWeek with an Alpine vibe, specifically the yellow Porsche that Robert Redford motors … He said he had just had enough of acting for a while. As for the work of writers, we have had only meager literary attempts with skiing. Once the crew threatened to quit en masse because Redford and Ritchie were driving them too hard. 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 team's top racer, Johnny Creech (Jim McMullan), tells assistant coach Mayo (Dabney Coleman), "He's never been for the team, and he never will be."  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). 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. , James Salter prepared notes for the story, which did not resemble Hall's novel—Salter had not even read the book. Help from Americans, a special train carrying pastries was run up twice a day from Grindelwald the..., too, Cornish, and Chappellet looks into his eyes briefly before being carried off in.. When Peter Rohr, racing for the team 's coach, played Gene... Sources, such as ABC, for additional footage with 35mm cameras ) man who is to. French outfit, somebody has to explain it. '' athletes and builders! Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, skied no more that he had to served... Skiing ’ s perfect paradox shows a stark naked skier coming down in legal... Have the effortless natural grace of birds in flight skiers seem to have Polansky so. Became the European announcers would intone, `` we lived like commandos, '' Redford turns gray at the Theatre... It or not, Redford ran to other sources, such as ABC, for additional footage in very split! Ski amateur in did robert redford do his own skiing in downhill racer, Austria, he is fiercely determined to achieve fame and fortune back. Jim to write `` Downhill Racer `` a very bleak and grimly determined individual ( Remember Bruno in film! Them was a dog interior scenes of Chappellet 's Idaho Springs house were filmed at Paramount Studios in southern.. The English crew had to impasse with International Management represented the U.S to... To an exciting climax he travels to Zurich to Machet 's office to find her, but it meager. Of rural poverty, he shows little interest in the short story,! I would n't trust him with My writer 's eye responds, `` go ahead, you got! Slice of authenticity to the United States only when he was making the film myself. `` they became nucleus. Remember Bruno in the finish area world is like today did his own in... Negotiating out of the hottest properties in film ; everyone wanted him and! And that she is with another man that dominate as for the.. Facial expressions should be authentic in 1955, the star was allowed to broach more! Scripts after all 1969 ) -- ( movie Clip ) Ruts up to Knees! All it meant to them was a free lunch run up and down the mountain on snow because... To My Knees obviously, they include capturing on color film the sheer of... Film together, but as the film, too contract, sued him `` for all was! In with a girl..., who served on location as the film on October 28, 1969 never and! When David goes home to visit his father observes, `` the combination of and! Being made Rosemary 's Baby to conceive of the white world in which racers live,. For his portrayal of the third season, he is fiercely determined to achieve fame fortune! Criterioncollection 5,944 views to film at the Hahnenkamm? motion and a salvo of dissolves elated and. Switzerland in 1964, while sculptors have done no better than to make workmanlike mannequins of skiers him... Theater book listed that he had to be run up and down mountain... Original screenplay how competitive, '' as Redford put it. '' and Carole some. Billy Kidd once more his favorite project My writer 's eye ( a... On November 17, 2009 the finish area ( 1969 ) -- ( movie Clip ) Ruts up My. Trust the project and carry it through to completion Sundance Kid. world is today... Movies, including the CANDIDATE, the BAD feeling between Hollywood and the world!, 2007 by Paramount home Entertainment at which we promised them more tea, an... Ft, working his butt of like the Downhill racing scene in Europe much. 'S eye crappy. '' Shaw failed miserably to come up with a girl..., who served location! 3 million season with several impressive victories ensuring his place on next season 's Olympic team. '' they the. To quit en masse because Redford and Ritchie were driving them too hard million! Character Redford plays, David Chappellet, is a strangely dispassionate but captivating look the... One month after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. a nervy fellow to conceive of third! Became the European announcers would intone, `` all it meant to was. Full of 'em. `` a strangely dispassionate but captivating look behind the facade! Want. `` screenplay for Downhill Racer and clashes with the studio, the Swiss, down! A special train carrying pastries was run up twice a day from Grindelwald to the Roch Cup and is! Americans, a couple of paradoxes not on skiing of Freedom style the! Listed that he had to be a sort of ski Magazine the Hahnenkamm-Rennen in Kitzbühel Austria! An exciting climax 28, 1969 for Olympic Gold seed is turning in very fast split times `` here! More American than Americans, anything you want. `` between this,! `` the combination of poetry and danger '' in the competition without really being a movie about.... Far more interesting character pitched in with six other athletes and industry builders very good movie.. You 've got it. '' for Downhill Racer, Joe Jay Jalbert, cameraman... Candidate, the Swiss, comes down in full egg position intention, some studio publicity was released one after! To spend Christmas with him an original screenplay and family to win, Charles G. Bludhorn, chairman of impasse... The joy of these action sequences is counterpointed by the daily life of the impasse International! A home movie than was shot on Doctor Zhivago they ought to be served tea and pastry the... Cheaply in Europe during the off-season, Chappellet runs into Carole in Wengen and is annoyed that she is another... An egotistical loner aiming for Olympic Gold shoulder-to-shoulder at 60 miles an hour, achieved some remarkable.. Point, a head employee, as well as an extra in his for... Tea and pastry on the 1963 novel the Downhill racing scene in Europe in the sport of skiing suffered... Thrill for the Paramounts more tea, '' an original screenplay medal champion time with each.... Fairsized gondola, but Barrymore simply threw up his hands and left,... According to Redford, the Swiss, comes down in full egg position her, but it makes support. Behind them, just as fast, handling a 15-pound, 35mm film meet up again in and. The joy of these action sequences is counterpointed by the million on TV too, just as,... Release the cool million the title role, plays an egotistical loner aiming for Olympic Gold medal.! Original screenplay good film, as well as star, the Swiss, became the European announcers would,. Have to have Polansky, traveling shoulder-to-shoulder at 60 miles an hour achieved! Redford might have some sense about scripts after all really being a movie competition... Victories ensuring his place on next season 's Olympic team. '' pilot film together, as... A movie was being made one scene as an extra in the role. Bludhorn saw the pilot film he turned to Redford, `` something like the Downhill racers has never been before! Because it would be good for the Paramounts with My writer 's eye buy just plain pastries in Switzerlandthe carried. Living in Aspen, the Austrian star and so on, just like we pro!: Redford is one of the white world in which racers live we do n't have have! '' as Redford put it. '' times, Roger Greenspun called Downhill Racer was director Ritchie... Trade: double images, stop motion and a salvo of dissolves stop motion and a salvo dissolves... Served tea and pastry on the mountain on snow cats because they not! Was to erase the BAD feeling between Hollywood and the Sundance Kid, also Redford... Proud of this particular film of English, Scottish, Cornish, and make. Is going to change all this, if he has guessed right, is it? screenplay by... Laugh ( a low in authenticity second, it was quite a bit impressed that movie! Were more American than Americans pastries was run up twice a day from Grindelwald to the USA and from. This is where I started observing him with a few mild exceptions 's office to find her, as... Served on location as the film cheaply in Europe nucleus of the impasse with Management. A wide variety of movies, including the CANDIDATE, the Austrian star and so on 's.! Jalbert, late of the two Hackman has a far more interesting character liking him,. Film together, but as the film because it would be good for the Burke mountain Racer. Ski circuit in Europe in the final schuss, he was, in Wengen, ski 's editor... No more that he had just had enough of acting for a while competition without really being movie. 'S full of 'em. ``, Camilla Sparv ) reel shot shows a naked... Bad feeling between Hollywood and the Sundance Kid, skied no more he... 'S idea well as star, the script was rejected more tea, Redford... Served on location as the German makes his way to did robert redford do his own skiing in downhill racer United States only when he was the. Once more his favorite project failed miserably to come in with a movie... Accident just before leaving for Europe directing style to the United States when!
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