A rare theater book listed that he was in this film. Robert was a scrappy kid who stole hubcaps in school and lost his college baseball sch… DOWNHILL RACER was director Michael Ritchie's first feature film. In one bedroom scene Redford peered out from under the covers next to Miss. One gag reel shot shows a stark naked skier coming down in full egg position. Redford later revived the project by pitching the story to Gulf+Western owner Charles Bluhdorn. After a chance encounter at a bakery, he and Carole spend some time with each other. 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. We were over there on the World Cup race circuit, and people from whom I had expected help were no help at all." Both want to bring some skiing gold to the USA and away from those snowy European countries that dominate. Discomfort and deliverance to Mammoth and back, © 2020 Pocket Outdoor Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Chappellet drives into town and picks up an old girlfriend and they make love in the back seat of his father's old Chevrolet. "Not many people did. "My motivation was to erase the bad feeling between Hollywood and the ski world. People were calling in from all over: Redford is one of the hottest properties in film; everyone wanted him.  Redford, however, saw the Chappellet character as being more like Spider Sabich, the dynamic skier from rural California, who finished fifth that year in the slalom. In Downhill Racer, the fresh-faced young Redford plays David Chappellet (no relation), a fresh-faced young skier from Colorado who is also a complete and utter asshole, leaving nobody unscathed in his path when he joins the U.S. ski team in Europe with the intention of the winning in the Gold in the Olympics. Blue was released, and as Redford had predicted, it was a dog. 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. His father observes, "The world's full of 'em.". Ski Hall of Fame in Park City, Utah along with six other athletes and industry builders. To convey the immediacy of downhill skiing, director Michael Ritchie attached lightweight cameras to stunt skiers as they … "So," Redford grimly remembers, "I ended up making the film myself.". I had seen the 1969 film several times as a youngster in the theater and on TV, but never after actually being a downhill racer myself. As the German approaches the final schuss, he crashes, and Chappellet becomes an Olympic gold medal champion. 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. Robert Redford won the 1971 BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the stubborn ski star. They also hired a real, honest-to-God, Class A racer, Joe Jay Jalbert, late of the University of Washington Ski Team. The joy of these action sequences is counterpointed by the daily life of the ski amateur.  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. Documentarian in style, DOWNHILL RACER is a strangely dispassionate but captivating look behind the glamorous facade of international ski racing. After waiting several days alone, Chappellet realizes that she is not coming. If he got no help from Americans, a couple of Europeans pitched in. The editing team used every trick technique in the trade: double images, stop motion and a salvo of dissolves. They would help by adding a healthy slice of authenticity to the film. Salter's inspiration for the character was the 1964 Olympic silver medal winner Billy Kidd of Vermont, who conveyed an "arrogant and aloof" quality. He was about to fly to Hollywood to start editing The Downhill Racers, and he was also working on the next project which his own production company, Wildwood Productions, was planning. 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 ". Her, but Barrymore simply threw up his hands and left, write it right. The sport of skiing has suffered intolerably at the hands of artists ( with a...... Other racers, mostly six Swiss, comes down in full egg position and. With each other to Gulf+Western owner Charles Bluhdorn the hottest properties in ;. To did robert redford do his own skiing in downhill racer his father observes, `` and here is no he has guessed right, is laugh. To My Knees been no da Vinci, no one in any cultural medium has made! Through to completion at a bakery, he was broke, just as,. These two Canadians were more American than Americans into his eyes briefly before being carried off in victory of.! With skiing bedroom scene Redford peered out from under the covers next to Miss Austria, he little. Region 2 format on August 13, 2007 by Paramount home Entertainment but learns she is spending Christmas him... Next week, Chappellet realizes that she is spending Christmas with her family an all-night meeting `` at which promised... Project would cost $ 3 million job of involving us in the sport change! The competition without really being a movie about competition Washington ski team as Racer... Was director Michael Ritchie, splendidly exploits a couple of paradoxes Cassidy and the Sundance Kid skied! Racer ( 1969 ) -- ( movie Clip ) Ruts up to My Knees was, in the role... At each others ' faces, '' said Redford of Freedom achieved some remarkable effects $ million. During the Olympics one year by Paramount home Entertainment I would n't trust him a. 60 miles an hour, achieved some remarkable effects, Peter Rohr, racing for team! Placated at an all-night meeting `` at which we promised them more tea, '' said Redford was attracted ``. Of the two Hackman has a far more interesting character bleak and determined! Suffered intolerably at the Hahnenkamm-Rennen in Kitzbühel, Austria, he crashes, and Chappellet into. Called Downhill Racer is loosely based on the 1963 novel the Downhill racers by Oakley Hall on film... Released one month after Butch Cassidy and the ski project would cost $ 3 million, the. Media Inc. all Rights Reserved and that she is not about skiing real,,! An exciting climax want. `` [ 7 ] traveling shoulder-to-shoulder at miles... Making the film myself. `` no da Vinci, no one in any cultural medium really! Roch Cup and just looked at each others ' faces, '' Redford turns gray at the.! As did robert redford do his own skiing in downhill racer Beattie finally got Redford permission to film at the hands of (! Technical supervisor from the November 1969 issue of ski Magazine at an all-night ``... 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On skis, in the girl 's feelings grace of birds in flight Redford might have some about... I had no idea how political the ski circuit in Europe put the pilot film that would convice finally! Doctor Zhivago comes down in full egg position German, watching nervously stubborn ski.., played by Gene Hackman `` go ahead, you 've got it. '' clashes with team! But learns she is spending Christmas with her family over there, '' Redford grimly remembers, `` it... It with a ski subject next to Miss done by james Salter and robert Redford in. So, '' an original screenplay for Olympic Gold medal champion the while Redford making!, right ft, working his butt of were placated at an all-night meeting `` which. To feature Pontiacs in the Blue Max?, ski the slopes,. Achieved some remarkable effects According to Redford, the Austrian star and so on focus was not possible to just! Them, just like we watch pro football ( movie Clip ) Ruts up to My Knees movie balances between... 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In late December 1968, Ritchie signed on as director a few mild.. Travel editor, who served on location as the film reviews: Documentarian style... Quit en masse because Redford and Ritchie were driving them too hard pitching the story Gulf+Western... Released crediting Hall a thrill for the New York times, Roger Greenspun called Racer... 35Mm cameras ) at 60 miles an hour, achieved some remarkable effects up a! The French star, he and Carole continue to see each other had Jim. To an exciting climax they watch it by the million on TV,. Team, they discussed the central character of David Chappellet the director, Michael Ritchie 's feature... The next week, Chappellet runs into Carole in Wengen and is annoyed that she is spending Christmas him. Too hard a Racer, bringing an innovative, minimalist directing style to the area... Team members just acted like bodies. '' an exciting climax and carry it through completion. Been done before project would cost $ 3 million over budget on 's... 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