Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Every Sorcerer Will Have His Day

When it comes to a film’s success, its release date often plays a large role. In the summer of 1977, America was finally starting to move on from Watergate and the Vietnam War, and Star Wars with its nostalgic storytelling shean and clearly discernible good and bad guys (even symbolically wearing white and black) was definitely the right film at the right time. Sure, George Lucas’ space opera saga would probably have been a hit regardless of when it was released, but I don’t know that had it opened a few years earlier or even in the winter months, if it would have become quite the phenomenon that it did.

On the opposite of side of the spectrum, and with the poor luck to open just as Star Wars was expanding, and with a title that infers a fantasy film that is not representative of the end product, is William Freidkin’s Sorcerer. A remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Wages of Fear, Friedkin’s follow-up to the commercial successes The Exorcist and The French Connection, Sorcerer is a dense, intense, harrowing experience with non-sympathetic leads speaking in four different languages. Not the stuff of modern summer blockbusters. It was a commercial failure, and seemed doomed to obscurity.

But as time as passed, Sorcerer’s reputation seems to be taking a turn in a positive light. And in the last few weeks two appreciations of the film came to my attention. First, the Gentleman’s Guide to Midnight Cinema, my favorite film related podcast (actually, the only one I listen to), covered it, and my blogging friend Leopard13 (check out his new blog, It Rains…You Get Wet) attended a screening at the Aero theatre (bummed I missed that one), and recorded the post film Q & A with Friedkin, where he revealed a Blu-Ray is in the early stages of development to replace the crappy full-frame DVD version that is currently the only readily available edition.

Here is part one of that Q & A (Leopard, please let me know if you have any issue with me reposting this)

For the rest of the discussion, click here.

And click here (it's episode #119 for the Gentleman’s Guide to Midnight Cinema podcast covering Sorcerer (and Forced Entry).

And here’s my Roy Scheider tribute piece where I discuss his role in Sorcerer.


le0pard13 said...

Thanks very much for highlighting this great and highly underrated film, Colonel... and the shout-out. I'm honored you've included the video here. I'm definitely going to take in the podcast you've linked, and your tribute piece. This is all to the good.

Mummbles said...

sounds like another quality film to add to my netflix list, thanks for the info.

le0pard13 said...

@ Mummbles: I recommend you wait until the remastered disc arrives. The current DVD (the one Netflix is bound to send you) is badly cropped. Friedkin's widescreen framing and visuals is pretty much lost in the current offering (something he is going to correct with the new disc). HTH.

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