Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans is a captivating documentary which offers a fascinating insight into screen icon Steve McQueen, a star who continues to shine with his face adorning millions of student gigs and bachelor pads nearly forty years after his death. Using the making of motor-racing drama Le Mans as a focal point, John McKenna and Gabriel Clarke’s film delves into the star’s psyche and illustrates how the ill-fated drama was a pivotal moment in his life and career.
A keen racing car driver, Le Mans was Steve McQueen’s passion project, one which took many years and many millions of dollars to hit the screen. It was hampered by script issues and production woes and it failed to make splash at the box office when it was originally released. The main problem was McQueen himself, a star at the height of his powers, unused to things not going his way. It’s therefore quite ironic that McQueen wasn’t able to do his own driving on the film due to insurance reasons – something which irked him wildly.
Filled with intriguing tales and anecdotes about the King of Cool, Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans is a must for movie fans. McQueen’s frequent collaborator John Sturges (The Great Escape/ The Magnificent Seven) walked off the picture, telling the actor that he was ‘too old and too rich to put up with this shit’. McQueen was pissed when his Great Escape co-star James Garner beat him to the racing movie punch with Grand Prix and his wife left him when she learned that he was schtupping models on the side during production. The post-script even states McQueen’s love of racing may have ultimately led to his untimely death from lung cancer at the age of 50 due to the asbestos in the protective helmets and suits used in the sport.
Hollywood is running low on movie stars these days and Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans shows one in his prime. It’s a a great film, and one of the best hollywood focused documentaries released in the last couple of years. There much to enjoy is this detailed and highly recommended doc. Seek it out!