Downhill racer/bthpaaphyntr James Salter James Salter, the "writer's writer" who wrote the script for "Downhill Racer," died on June 19 in Sag Harbor, New York. He was 91.
Salter's first novel, The Hunters, was published in 1951 when he was only 25 years old. It became a best-seller and was followed by three more novels, all of which were also best-sellers.
In addition to writing fiction, Salter wrote several screenplays, including that of Downhill Racer, which he also directed. The film was nominated for two Oscars.
After many years away from writing, Salter returned with a new book titled Lace. This time, though, he used his own experiences as inspiration for the story.
Shortly after its release, Salter suffered a heart attack. However, he decided to continue writing and was soon back working on more novel ideas. His next work was called The General's Daughter and was based on Salter's experience while serving in Italy during the late 1940s.
After another hiatus, this time due to health problems of his wife, Salter started writing again and completed a third novel, Called Back. Both books were successful and led to more writing projects for Salter.
The script for Downhill Racer is partially based on Oakley Hall's 1963 novel The Downhill Racers. Soon after, Redford convinced author James Salter to develop a script for the picture, presenting him to Polanski and his partner, Gene Gutowski, who agreed to collaborate on it. Before they started work on the film, Redford and Polanski visited Switzerland to study downhill skiing in order to prepare for their roles as a pair of ski champions.
Downhill Racer was first released in January 1969. It received positive reviews from critics and has become regarded as one of Redford's best films.
It is believed that some of the scenes in the movie were shot on location in Chamonix, France. Other locations include Les Houches, Paris, and Gstaad, Switzerland. The soundtrack includes songs by Jack Nitzsche, Eric Burdon & War, and Judy Collins.
Downhill Racer was nominated for two Oscars: Best Art Direction (John Mollo) and Best Original Score (Jack Nitzsche). It won neither. However, it did win at the Cannes Film Festival. Downhill Racer was also named by TV Guide as one of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.
Redford later said he would "always be grateful" to Polanski for helping him get started in Hollywood because most producers wouldn't give him time off to make the film.
Downhill Racer was released in theaters in the United States in late 1969, with a premiere on October 29th, 1969 in Reno, Nevada. 6. It was re-released in the United States in July 1984 at the FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition for a 50-hour Sports Movie Marathon from July 5 to July 20, 1984. The film earned $3 million at the box office.
Downhill Racer is a 1969 American sports drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring James Dean, Peter Fonda, and Natalie Wood. The screenplay was written by William Goldman based on his own story "The Sweet Science". The film tells the tale of an aspiring downhill skier who joins a competitive team but eventually decides to pursue a career as a musician.
Downhill Racer was produced by Ross Hunter and Richard D. Zanuck for Fox 2000 Pictures. The executive producers were Leland Hayward, David Brown, and Walter Miranker. The film was released on November 23, 1969 in North America and reached number one at the box office during its first week of release. It stayed at the top of the charts for two weeks.
Dean died in a car crash on September 30, 1955, just three days before his 25th birthday. His death was considered a national tragedy because he had just become a major star. Director Curtiz died in 1949 at the age of 85. Screenwriter Goldman also died in 1989 at the age of 49.
Polanski gave Salter the idea for the script, telling him that it should be a modern-day High Noon, when the sheriff is slain and someone is brought in to replace him. The "sheriff" is the team's lead racer who fractures his leg in the film, and Chappellet is called in to replace him. Polanski said he wanted the new rider to be a woman because "there are so many strong women in sports today - they're not all blondes, however."
Polanski also says that he wrote the part of the race director for himself, but after reading several dozen scripts, he decided not to take on any more projects.
Downhill Racer was originally going to be called Speed Trap, but then changed to avoid legal issues with another movie of the same name.