With the success of “House of Cards” and the upcoming release of the fabled new season of “Arrested Development,” Netflix is taking dead aim at cable networks. While so far they’ve stuck with developing series, the streaming company has completed a deal with Brett Ratner — a man with a questionable filmography and cinephile taste (he’s produced docs on Woody Allen and John Cazale, FYI) — to bring interesting documentaries to a larger audience. The first movie to be part of the deal is the 1971 Roman Polanski-helmed documentary “Weekend Of A Champion.”
Never heard of it? That may be because the film, which focuses on Formula 1 racing champion Jackie Stewart, never saw any kind of release in the United States. Produced after “Rosemary’s Baby” and a couple of years before “Chinatown,” this forgotten piece of his filmography occurred at the height of the filmmaker’s powers and follows Stewart on the weekend of his famed Monte Carlo Grand Prix victory. The two men were friends, and their relationship gave Polanski “a privileged insight into [Stewart’s] strategy and first-hand approach of how he planned to win the Monte Carlo Grand Prix.” It seems to have won critics over back in the day, earning Special Recognition from the Berlin International Film Festival.