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NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
11/18/19 3:38 p.m.
Tom_Spangler said:
alfadriver said:

Dramatically, it was a good movie- mostly a character study of Ken Miles than anything else.  Which is ok, and in the context of the story- where they had to keep out a LOT of it, what they left out was ok.  But it still missed a lot of the story, and really sided against the Duce and how he screwed over Miles.  While he did have an iron fist, there was a lot of inspiration within Ford, Shelby, and the other two teams that competed GT40s.  The Duce and Bebe come off as the bad guys, which I'm not that sure about.

Especially Beebe. He was portrayed as a venal, petty pencil-pusher with a personal vendetta against Miles. I don't think that was the case, and I don't think it was fair to his legacy to portray him that way.

Not my prose, but some background on Mr Beebe

 

I suppose every good story needs a protagonist and an antagonist. In Ford v Ferrari the protagonists are obvious, Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles. Unlike some, I have no problem with Matt Damon and Christian Bales in those roles. I enjoyed the interaction between the two.

The antagonist is Leo Beebe. At least the character called Leo Beebe. I researched Beebe while writing Black Noon because he took over Ford’s racing program little more than a month before the fateful 1964 Indy 500.

By all accounts he was extremely bright, quiet and unassuming. He could be forceful and demanding. But nothing like the scheming, conniving, yes man portrayed in the movie.

Beebe should be remembered as a hero. He put himself through the University of Michigan in the late 1930s by working on the line at Ford’s Rouge Plant. He was captain of the basketball team as a sophomore. He also played baseball, earned six athletic letters and a Big Ten academic award. He taught high school and coached after graduating, but the bombs soon fell on Pearl Harbor and he joined the Navy.

When the Navy saw he had worked at the Rouge they sent him back to the plant. The Rouge was to become the arsenal of the free world and Beebe was to play an important role. He reported to a young ensign named Henry Ford II.

Beebe had a master’s degree in communications, but proved to be a wizard at logistics. He worked tirelessly, helping to quickly shift plant production from cars to armaments and move them around the world. At the end of the war, Ford hired him to help return the Rouge to automotive production. He then became the company’s Mr. Fixit.

Twice in the years to come he was recalled to government service for his logistical talents, first to lead humanitarian efforts for Hungarian refugees after that country’s failed revolt against communism, and again when Fidel Castro took over in Cuba and refugees flocked to the U.S. When the new Edsel Division flopped, Ford turned to Beebe to shut it down. And Beebe was in Europe trying to resurrect Ford’s brand there when Iacocca asked him to turn around Ford’s floundering racing programs. He had never been to a race. Yes, Beebe worked for Iacocca and Don Frey, not the other way around as the movie implies.

His first race was the 1964 Charlotte 600 where Fireball Roberts was badly burned. A week later he was at Indianapolis when Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs were killed. He went to work trying to improve safety and the racing program’s organization. He had nothing to do with Ken Miles not driving at Le Mans that year—Shelby didn’t even run Ford GTs in 1964. Pure fantasy.

As is much of the movie. There are so many inaccuracies it’s easier to identify the parts that are true. Ford did beat Ferrari and Miles did get screwed. The interaction between Miles and his wife and son is good stuff. I hope it’s true.

We’ve been asked to cut the movie makers some slack. It’s a “movie” after all. Okay, so there was no last lap, last turn pass by Miles to win the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona and save Shelby his company. He won by eight laps and that wouldn’t have been very exciting. So what if there was no final record-setting “perfect lap” by Miles at Le Mans. There probably should have been. I’ll let you decide on those cringe-worthy in-car racing shots of Bandini and Hansgen, bug-eyed, hunched over the wheel in seeming terror of racing against Miles, two of my LOL moments.

Yes, it certainly appears it was Beebe who first floated the idea of dead heat at Le Mans in 1966. Some say it was Bruce McLaren, others say it was Henry Ford himself. Unlikely. But almost everyone else, including Shelby, soon bought into the idea. Shelby was probably relieved he didn’t have to make the tough decision himself.

French officials had told Shelby and the Ford execs before the finish the dead heat wasn’t going to work after all. Everyone, including Shelby, decided not to tell the drivers on the track. There were none of the histrionics depicted in the movie. Years later Shelby said it was his fault; he should have stood up more for Miles. But in the aftermath it was Beebe who stood up and took responsibility.

Not a single reviewer I’m aware of has challenged the depiction of Beebe. Most, even automotive and racing reporters, say they never heard of him. A number have referred to him as (horror of horrors), a PR guy! I hope one or two do a little research on the subject because the hatchet job on Beebe is unacceptable and makes the movie, for me, unbearable.
 

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/19 3:53 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Thanks for finding that- I should have my wife read that, as she came away from the moving really hating Beebe and the Duce, like really hating.  I tried to calm her down, but the movie was so wrong that she got the wrong impression of real events.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
11/18/19 4:18 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

It was Mrs NOHOME that had me fact check the Beebe story.  "Your side my side and the truth" seems to be her motto.

kazoospec
kazoospec UltraDork
11/18/19 4:27 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

Tell her not to confuse reel events with real events, they are rarely the same.  

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/19 4:30 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

For someone who seems to care a lot about the facts and accuracy, I have no idea why that author mentioned that Miles and gt40s didn't run lemans in 1964.

Wasn't the movie depicting the driver call for 1965?

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
11/18/19 4:47 p.m.

The other bit of history that is not made clear is that the GT 40 is no more a Shelby design thant was the original Cobra. The GT40 started life as a Lola MkVI if I recall. Not saying that Shelby did not develop the car, just that it was not a ground up effort in 90 days as portrayed in the restaurant scene with Shelby and Miles.

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
11/18/19 5:15 p.m.
NOHOME said:

The other bit of history that is not made clear is that the GT 40 is no more a Shelby design thant was the original Cobra. The GT40 started life as a Lola MkVI if I recall. Not saying that Shelby did not develop the car, just that it was not a ground up effort in 90 days as portrayed in the restaurant scene with Shelby and Miles.

Haven't seen the movie yet but I want to.

This was what I wondered about most for the movie. A ton of people were involved with the GT40 long before Shelby got his hands on it. As you said, same with the Cobra, a lot of talented people never get any credit for that car but everyone knows about it's salesman.

Still want to go see it though!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/19/19 9:51 a.m.

You just have to accept the fact that it's the story that Shelby would have written. Makes for a better movie than what happened with the car before and after he was involved. Agree to that and enjoy.

The most fascinating thing about reading the histories of the car's actual development (aka, not Go Like Hell) is the sheer amount of testing required. The only way to really test an endurance car is to run it long and hard. It was implied in the movie a little bit but these guys used to run them on real tracks for hours and hours. If it only lasted 9 hours and 1500 km, it was a failure. Such a difference from sprint racing like F1.

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
11/19/19 10:32 p.m.

I really enjoyed the movie.  I took my 9 year old son and nephew.  They had a great time with the movie too.  I suspect their joy and laughter made me enjoy it more.  Ok, it's maybe not a History channel documentary, but it tells a great story, it builds the legend, and made racing history appeal to a new generation (that wouldn't sit through Gran Prix).  Here are the highlights from the perspective of a 9 year old (spoiler free):

  • "Wrenching" - OOOoooooo
  • Colorful language - lots of muffled giggles
  • Wife's interrogation - laughing out loud
  • Fighting with groceries - uncontrollable belly laughs

I don't want to take a test when I finish watching a movie, I want to come out of it with an experience.  This movie delivered.  My non-car-guy (but good guy) BIL came as well.  He was going home to read more about the race and the finish.  I only have 2 thumbs, I'll point them both up.  laugh

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/20/19 1:25 p.m.
ShawnG said:
NOHOME said:

The other bit of history that is not made clear is that the GT 40 is no more a Shelby design thant was the original Cobra. The GT40 started life as a Lola MkVI if I recall. Not saying that Shelby did not develop the car, just that it was not a ground up effort in 90 days as portrayed in the restaurant scene with Shelby and Miles.

Haven't seen the movie yet but I want to.

This was what I wondered about most for the movie. A ton of people were involved with the GT40 long before Shelby got his hands on it. As you said, same with the Cobra, a lot of talented people never get any credit for that car but everyone knows about it's salesman.

Still want to go see it though!

in the movie, i'm pretty sure Shelby specifically says "just off the plane from England" and mentions Lola (or was it Broadley) by name within the first sentence or two of that scene.

intrepid
intrepid New Reader
11/20/19 1:35 p.m.

The story of 1965 (when Ford didn't win) is pretty good too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR8FP1_pjn0

-chris r.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand UberDork
11/20/19 3:29 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:
ShawnG said:
NOHOME said:

The other bit of history that is not made clear is that the GT 40 is no more a Shelby design thant was the original Cobra. The GT40 started life as a Lola MkVI if I recall. Not saying that Shelby did not develop the car, just that it was not a ground up effort in 90 days as portrayed in the restaurant scene with Shelby and Miles.

Haven't seen the movie yet but I want to.

This was what I wondered about most for the movie. A ton of people were involved with the GT40 long before Shelby got his hands on it. As you said, same with the Cobra, a lot of talented people never get any credit for that car but everyone knows about it's salesman.

Still want to go see it though!

in the movie, i'm pretty sure Shelby specifically says "just off the plane from England" and mentions Lola (or was it Broadley) by name within the first sentence or two of that scene.

Exactly.  Thanks for the clarification. 

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
11/20/19 3:39 p.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr :

There's a really detailed documentary on Netflix which supplements the movie really well, and is more accurate.

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
11/20/19 3:41 p.m.

Am I the only one to note them running Willow Springs backwards (CCW)? Anyone know why? Maybe lighting for the shots?

rustybugkiller
rustybugkiller HalfDork
11/20/19 3:43 p.m.

I think the important thing here is that the movie was entertaining enough for even non car enthusiasts to enjoy and that might encourage new enthusiasts.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
11/20/19 3:52 p.m.
kb58 said:

Am I the only one to note them running Willow Springs backwards (CCW)? Anyone know why? Maybe lighting for the shots?

I really hope that the answer to this question is "To annoy the 17 people who will notice it"

L5wolvesf
L5wolvesf New Reader
11/20/19 4:35 p.m.
kb58 said:

Am I the only one to note them running Willow Springs backwards (CCW)? Anyone know why? Maybe lighting for the shots?

Back when I was with the Guldstarnd autoX team we had an opportunity to play on Willow as part of a commercial being filmed. They had us run both ways; maybe lighting it was a cloudy day and/or for the background look. I haven't seen the movie but saw a clip (red car coming apart). The front straight at Willow CCW could resemble Riverside . . . sorta - especially for those who never were there.

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
11/20/19 8:47 p.m.

Yeah I thought of that later, to better mimic Riverside.

Of course, the real reason I brought it up was to annoy people who get annoyed by me doing so.

TheV8Kid
TheV8Kid Dork
11/20/19 9:50 p.m.

Excellent movie. One of the best I've ever seen. Go see it everyone.

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
11/20/19 10:26 p.m.

The documentary to see is The 24 Hour War, on Netflix.

Kreb
Kreb GRM+ Memberand UberDork
11/21/19 1:01 p.m.

The movie was very good, not great. I'd give it a B+ for dramatic appeal and an A for effort. They tried really hard to make the movie appeal to both petrol heads and the general public, and hit the authenticity key very hard. The weakness was in the racing sequences and some of the associated dialogue, which of course, they had to dumb down for the masses.  Also it would appear that in search of a villain, the filmmakers made Leo Beebe out to be worse than he was. 

A great movie to watch on the big screen with four track friends after a little Tequila.

Kreb
Kreb GRM+ Memberand UberDork
11/21/19 1:02 p.m.
jfryjfry
jfryjfry Dork
11/21/19 6:43 p.m.

I haven’t seen it yet but at the time of shooting willow springs was willow springs (down to the replica start/finish tower replete with original willow springs raceway lettering) and we definitely ran it clockwise. 

Carbon
Carbon UltraDork
11/21/19 10:57 p.m.

I thought it was terrible. Cartoonish depictions of the people. Embarrassing driving, downshift to pass like they’re driving on the highway. It was shameful. There were some cool parts, and I’m glad that these interesting men’s story is getting some press but damn, what would you feel if you were their families and they were depicted this way. Very disappointing. 

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/21/19 11:08 p.m.

In reply to Carbon :

Did you accidentally go to Fast & Furious?

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