In 1909, when young Paiute Indian Willie Boy returns to his California reservation to be with Lola, whose father disapproves of him, a killing in self defense takes place, triggering a massive man hunt for Willie.
A biplane pilot who had missed flying in WWI takes up barnstorming and later a movie career in his quest for the glory he had missed, eventually getting a chance to prove himself in a film ... See full summary »
A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians, and proves to be a match for their warriors in one-on-one combat on the early frontier.
David Chappellet is a mean-spirited skier, who profits from another skier's injury to gain a spot on the American Olympic team. His roommate sums up his goals when he observes of David, "He's not for the team, and he never will be"; but precisely who the David is that David is so fiendishly striving for we're never to learn. He develops a short-lived relationship with Carole Stahl, a glamorous European woman even more capricious than himself. Chappellet's identity trouble are exacerbated by the fact that he is an "Event" as well as a personality; and more astute minds than his own have difficulty where the one leaves off and the other takes over. Director Michael Richie's ("The Candidate") feature film debut.Written by
The film was made and released about six years after its source novel "The Downhill Racers" by Oakley Hall had been first published in 1963. Hall also contributed uncredited to the movie's screenplay. See more »
During the challenge race between Johnny and Dave (when Johnny crashes) the two skiers first have a pair of red and black skis, but the next shot farther on down the course they both have red skis. See more »
Well, I just hope you don't end up askin' yourself the question some folks ask me. "What's he do it for?"
Well, I'll be famous. I'll be a champion.
World's full of'em.
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The appeal of a ski film to those who ski is obvious. But imagine yourself innocent of skiing. Can it hold the attention of the rest of us? Roone Arledge and his "Wide World of Sports" provided one answer, as Jean Claude Killy and his successors skied into American living rooms on many winter Saturdays. "Downhill Racer" seconds the motion.
The late Mike Ritchie, who'd essayed nothing more ambitious than commercials, traveled the World Cup circuit in the 1967-68 winter, accompanied by Aspen novelist Jim Salter, whose screenplay (from Oakley Hall's very different novel) effectively was written in segments the night before each shoot. Almost everything about this production was improvised.
Athletes are not necessarily interesting people. Killy was; stories about him, some even true, are legion. David Chappellet (a young Robert Redford), more typically, reminds one of the astronauts in "2001", with their limited range of expressions and nothing particularly interesting to say. This comes across powerfully in several hilarious interview scenes, with American and European journalists trying in vain to get the young man to say something worth writing down.
Wengen, Switzerland passes for several World Cup race sites. (A Swiss medico wears an armband identifying him as "Arzt", or doctor, at a supposed French venue). The filmmakers also were present in Grenoble for the Winter Olympics, providing a fictional inside look at the Games far different from that of, for example, "Chariots of Fire".
One still doesn't ski, but the pleasures of "Downhill Racer" are undeniable.
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