C’était un Rendezvous..The original.

If you’ve seen Jeremy Clarkson’s latest film ‘The Italian Job’, and the behind the scenes footage of that film, you’ll undoubtedly be aware of the clip below. You may not know a few things about it though.

The film was created in 1976 by Claude Lelouch, and depicts a car racing through the center of Paris early in the morning. C’était un Rendezvous translates to “It was a date”.

There have been a healthy number of references to this film in the past, as well as homages created to pay tribute. It’s an amazing film in and of itself, but there are some details that need be mentioned. From the director himself, the car was actually a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9. and not a Ferrari. The soundtrack, or engine and tire sounds, were dubbed in from Lelouch’s own Ferrari 275GTB. From an interview, the director stated that he was in fact the driver, and that there was only one person posted at a blind intersection with a radio to aide him, but that the radio was not operable at the time the film was shot. He had stated that he received no instruction from that lookout, and indicated that he would have ceased should he find the run too dangerous. I guess that’s a matter of perspective. The length of the film itself was limited by the 1000ft capacity of the 35mm reel loaded into the camera.

What you’re watching is essentially the grand-daddy of ‘underground’ or ‘street racing’ films. I believe this is the remastered version that was re-released on DVD.