Why we love The Great Race

Natalie Wood

The beautiful Natalie Wood in 1963

This 1965 Blake Edwards’ comedic masterpiece is an instant favorite. The main cast includes the wonderful Jack Lemmon as a Snidely Whiplash-esque character, Professor Fate; Tony Curtis as the dashing hero, The Great Leslie; the always stunning Natalie Wood as the determined and spunky Maggie Dubois; and finally Peter Falk as Max, the loyal assistant to Professor Fate. With an epic musical score by Henry Mancini leading the way, you’ll be hooked on the great race that spanned three continents. Inspired by the 1908 car race that traveled from New York to Paris, we think you’ll find the action perfectly blended with Edwards’ signature slap-stick style. Join us as we share six amazing things about this retro film!

Don’t waste your energy sabotaging others – just be yourself

Professor Fate constantly tries to wreck The Great Leslie’s success, but if he just focused on his own efforts and work, he would have garnered his own kind of triumphs. Putting out negative energy always backfires in the end, so be careful to not let envy drive you. You are on your own journey – no one else’s – embrace that!

image from the Library of Congress

The original great race, 1908

Sometimes bold action is the best plan of attack

Maggie Dubois wants to be the first female reporter for the New York Sentinel and takes drastic action to get her foot in the door. While it was a bold technique, Maggie found the playing field wasn’t working for her, so she simply redefined it for her own goals. Her trailblazing approach is inspiring; keep in mind that sometimes you have to break the rules to get what you want. Just remember to work hard, be yourself, and keep open lines of communication. Being diligent will keep in check as you chart new territory!

Dream big and then – dream bigger

The Great Leslie set records and would establish new goals on the heels of his success. In the film, he proposes The Great Race idea. His unwavering confidence reminds us to be unique and strive for originality in all we do.

When the going gets tough, look for help from those around you

While challenges presented themselves throughout the expedition, the snowy abyss of Alaska proved to be hard for both teams to overcome. Times were dire and in order to survive The Great Leslie and Professor Fate had to band together. When they put their differences aside, they realized they were very similar in their hopes and ambitions. Remember that inspiration and guidance can come from the most unlikely sources. Don’t overlook the wisdom of those around you – especially the ones you assume you have nothing in common with!

vintage love

Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh

Communication and understanding is important

The Great Leslie and Maggie Dubois constantly struggle over equality between the sexes. There is rarely a moment of harmony as her spice and sass mixes with his stoic determination. As you can imagine, this leads to some passionate exchanges. Yet by the end of the movie they realize that in all this time they’ve been talking past each other, not letting each other in on the other’s feelings. Sometimes big gestures really do say it all, but nothing trumps honest discussions all the way through. Be honest with the people you care about.

Don’t “push the button”

Max and Professor Fate teach us time and time again – think before you act. Every time Professor Fate tells Max to push the button it ends up badly. There are things in life that we know are going to end badly; you know the moments where every fiber tells you this is a bad idea. Well you just gotta trust that voice! Just tell yourself, “don’t push the button.”

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Cause A Frockus would like to thank their tremendous resources, The Great Race and the people who post their imagery without restriction.

For our readers, have you seen this film? What did you take away from the movie?


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