Author Topic: William Friedkin's Sorcerer  (Read 1892 times)

great_badir

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William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« on: March 27, 2014, 01:51:44 PM »
Anyone else as obsessed with this film as I am?

I've been championing the film and have owned the pan and scan American DVD since the late 90s, and I'm currently wetting myself with excitement about the re-release next month...

...which will be a region A specific blu-rary.  Harrumph.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 04:11:14 PM »
During the eighties, I always used to see the Tangerine Dream soundtrack going cheap at record fairs.  The cover intrigued me but I never bought it because I didn't think I'd enjoy Tangerine Dream. Now, I'd snap it up.


BlodwynPig

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 05:00:55 PM »
i have the soundtrack but never saw the movie (no chance of getting a VHS)...I think I looked recently and its not on DVD in the uk?

BlodwynPig

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 05:01:21 PM »
The image on the LP really captivated me. Is it as good as that?

Wet Blanket

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 05:12:50 PM »
I've seen The Wages of Fear, think it's a masterpiece of tension and have avoided Sorcerer on account of being wary of remakes.

How does it compare? Wages of Fear is fucking immense.

great_badir

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 09:49:35 PM »
I love Wages of Fear.  It is a masterpiece.

Sorcerer, I think, is better.  Seriously.

But don't mistake it for a remake - it is, instead, a re-imagining of the original source novel and only really shares a basic premise and nods to a few sequences with and in Wages.

It is intense, exhausting, miserable, nihilistic and gripping.  It's one of those films that makes you feel like you need a shower after watching it.  If nothing else, the scene depicted on the soundtrack cover is one of THE greatest action sequences ever committed to celluloid.

I don't think it's ever been released on home video or DVD in the UK, although the region 1 DVD has been available on Amazon UK for years.

BlodwynPig

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 10:25:15 PM »
Fucking hell.

great_badir

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 10:30:55 PM »
The whole film is on YouTube, but it's only a rip of the American DVD, so dreadful pan and scan.

Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 10:45:10 PM »
I watched Sorcerer a few years ago and I thought it was called Sorcerer: The Wages of Fear. From what I can remember it's a greasy, sweaty, tense thriller about blokes cargoing some very precarious explosives through a jungle for some reason. That's all I can remember. What a pointless post.

great_badir

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 10:49:23 PM »
Not that pointless - you've summed it up pretty well.

It was re-titled Wages of Fear in some territories, mainly because from its original title people were expecting it to be some sort of horror follow-up to The Exorcist.  Which, of course, it isn't.

Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 10:59:08 PM »
Surely Arrow or Eureka will swing a region 2 release of this? Surely? SURELY

great_badir

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 11:09:38 PM »
Friedkin has mentioned a "European home video release", but wasn't specific about where or when.

It's doing the rounds on the UK arts cinema circuit at the moment, and the new American blu-ray and DVD come out next month, but it's a Warner Bros. release, so if it does come on blu here, it won't be Arrow or Eureka.

I'm keeping quietly optimistic.  After all, Wake In Fright got a UK blu release recently, and uncut at that.

Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2014, 09:38:11 PM »
This should probably be in a separate Friedkin thread or something, but this is the best trailer ever:

http://youtu.be/zGBe8mltpkA

BlodwynPig

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 10:30:55 PM »
Its being shown on cinemas in the UK now?

Where exactly?

http://sorcerer1977.wordpress.com/

BlodwynPig

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 10:35:07 PM »
This should probably be in a separate Friedkin thread or something, but this is the best trailer ever:

http://youtu.be/zGBe8mltpkA

Why haven't I heard of this? This a Blodders Wet Dream...Petersen, Defoe, that nighttime intro, the music!

Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2014, 11:13:35 PM »
Fucking yes. I need to see that.

BlodwynPig

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2014, 11:14:14 PM »
4.25 GBP on amazon.co.uk

Famous Mortimer

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2014, 07:51:19 AM »
Can't wait to see Sorcerer...and "To Live And Die In LA" gets the Mortimer seal of approval, I saw it years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2014, 08:34:32 AM »
Why haven't I heard of this? This a Blodders Wet Dream...Petersen, Defoe, that nighttime intro, the music!

It's chock full of the kind of 70's and 80's renegade cop movie clichés you might expect. In Friedkin's hands these clichés never become tiresome though. In the same way he did with The French Connection they become dynamic and stylish and still feel fresh today even though Hollywood has told these stories 1000's of times over.


EDIT: (Actually, I thought 'The French Connection' was mid 1970's, it is actually 1971. So you could argue that Friedkin actually pioneered the 'renegade cop' sub-genre with that film, and 'To Live and Die  In L.A.' is him revisiting and revitalising it somewhat 15 years later).
« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 08:55:27 AM by Viero_Berlotti »

Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2014, 09:55:04 AM »
To Live and Die in LA is an overlooked gem. Bleak, brutal and with a simultaneously appropriate and intrusive score by Wang Chung.

great_badir

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2014, 10:04:18 PM »
Its being shown on cinemas in the UK now?

Where exactly?

http://sorcerer1977.wordpress.com/

So far it's been shown at the Glasgow Film Festival, Mark Kermode is taking it around a few places (Truro next week), and I think it's had a showing at the BFI in London.  Still very much one-off preview screenings at the moment.  Don't expect it to go much further than your most local arts/independent cinema, though.

That blog, whilst it is pretty much the main source for all Sorcerer news, only tends to mention US and very high profile European goings on.


To Live and Die In LA is excellent, despite the dreadful opening and hokey ending.  But in between it's all good - amazing car chase, how to do crimes in real life and get away with it (a la Michael Mann's Thief) andthe  usual Friedkin grit and grime fully intact.

Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2014, 11:29:51 PM »
Just watched the Blu-Ray re-release of this and as expected it was amazing.

The transfer is generally very good, but my only gripe is that the greens look a little too saturated and almost luminous at some points. It's weird, because all the other colours look natural and well balanced, but it's like they've turned the greens all the way up to 11. It looks better than the French Connection Blu-Ray transfer though, that was just way too saturated across the board. It seems to be a bit of a general trend with Blu-Ray transfers of old colour films though, the colours just don't look natural.

great_badir

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2014, 02:00:58 PM »
Just watched the Blu-Ray re-release of this and as expected it was amazing.

The transfer is generally very good, but my only gripe is that the greens look a little too saturated and almost luminous at some points. It's weird, because all the other colours look natural and well balanced, but it's like they've turned the greens all the way up to 11. It looks better than the French Connection Blu-Ray transfer though, that was just way too saturated across the board. It seems to be a bit of a general trend with Blu-Ray transfers of old colour films though, the colours just don't look natural.

Apparently that was how it was supposed to be, and how it was when it was first released at the flicks.  Well, that's what Friedkin says, anyway (actually, to be fair, a couple of the Amazon reviews from people who did see it first time round back him up on that).

I thought the second blu of French Connection had been sorted?


Anyway, I saw the high def Sorcerer a couple of weeks ago.  Amazing.  Good to see it in its proper aspect ratio, glad to hear they sorted out some of the dodgy audio from the previous version (although awful ADR in the New York sequence maddeningly untouched).  The only negative comment I have is the addition of the gunshot at the end (which Friedkin is claiming is a car backfiring - hmmmmmm).  I know we're not talking Greedo-shoots-first face palming, and it still leaves it ending on an ambiguous note, but even so - totally unnecessary.

Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2014, 08:39:03 AM »
Apparently that was how it was supposed to be, and how it was when it was first released at the flicks.  Well, that's what Friedkin says, anyway (actually, to be fair, a couple of the Amazon reviews from people who did see it first time round back him up on that).

I'm not convinced it's something that has successfully transferred from celluloid to digital HD though, but maybe I am overly critical because colour balance and colour correction is a large part of what I do as a job.

I thought the second blu of French Connection had been sorted?

Yes, I've heard that there are two versions knocking around. Not sure which one I have, but it looks over saturated to me, would be interesting to have them both for comparison.

The colour saturation stuff is a very minor niggle though. Sorcerer is a great film and has definitely been over looked by cinema history so far. The existentialist/nihilistic sub-text sits really nicely, it never becomes so overt that it is over bearing or becomes self important, but is a strong enough presence to elevate it above a generic suspense/action film.

My favourite scene is at the end, where the camera slowly zooms into Roy Scheider's weary looking face, and he breaks the forth wall and just stares directly down the camera lens. It's at that moment the futility of his life becomes apparent and we see inside his soul, and then he casts his eyes towards the floor and that momentary connection with the audience is gone. Magnificent acting by Scheider and inspired direction from Friedkin.

The Roofdog

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2014, 02:21:00 PM »
Don't go buying the DVD lads:

William Friedkin ‏@WilliamFriedkin  May 1
Amazon will not let me add a comment, but just know
The SORCERER DVD they sell is terrible and I'm in the
Process of remastering.

William Friedkin ‏@WilliamFriedkin  May 1
Next week I'll make the new SORCERER DVD.
Warner's hopes to release it on or about June 5.
I'll keep you all posted.

great_badir

  • Shitload of ballbags
Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2014, 01:11:32 PM »
I'm not convinced it's something that has successfully transferred from celluloid to digital HD though, but maybe I am overly critical because colour balance and colour correction is a large part of what I do as a job.

Yes, I've heard that there are two versions knocking around. Not sure which one I have, but it looks over saturated to me, would be interesting to have them both for comparison.

The colour saturation stuff is a very minor niggle though. Sorcerer is a great film and has definitely been over looked by cinema history so far. The existentialist/nihilistic sub-text sits really nicely, it never becomes so overt that it is over bearing or becomes self important, but is a strong enough presence to elevate it above a generic suspense/action film.

My favourite scene is at the end, where the camera slowly zooms into Roy Scheider's weary looking face, and he breaks the forth wall and just stares directly down the camera lens. It's at that moment the futility of his life becomes apparent and we see inside his soul, and then he casts his eyes towards the floor and that momentary connection with the audience is gone. Magnificent acting by Scheider and inspired direction from Friedkin.

I guess the "defence" for the colour levels being that it adds to the surreal underbelly of the film (which it does), but we know from French Connection that Friedkin is far too happy to muck about with things, and how reliable is a casual cinema goer's 35 year old memory?  We'll never really know, I suppose.  But I didn't have the same "W T fuck?!?!?!" reaction with the look of Sorcerer as I did with the original FC blu release (I actually opted to stick with my older DVD special edition, which was much closer to the original [using my old limited edition American laserdisc for comparison]). 

But yeah - the first FC blu, which Friedkin oversaw on his own, is the dodgy one.  Then Owen Roizman threw a shit fit when he saw it and pressured both Friedkin and Fox to sort it out properly, with his involvement.  I think the decent one is the Signature Series version (with Hackman in close up on the cover).  I've not opted for that release yet, so I can't make the comparison there.

I think Scheider's face is one of the strongest elements of the film.  I know he was pretty much Friedkin's last choice for that role, but I really can't imagine anyone else in it.  The originally preferred Steve McQueen would have been interesting, and probably would have worked (I'm thinking Papillon and An Enemy of the People), but it still fit Scheider perfectly.


Don't go buying the DVD lads:

William Friedkin ‏@WilliamFriedkin  May 1
Amazon will not let me add a comment, but just know
The SORCERER DVD they sell is terrible and I'm in the
Process of remastering.

William Friedkin ‏@WilliamFriedkin  May 1
Next week I'll make the new SORCERER DVD.
Warner's hopes to release it on or about June 5.
I'll keep you all posted.

Yep - it's just a straight repackage of the pan and scan Universal DVD from the 90s.

The Roofdog

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2014, 04:43:59 PM »
I didn't realise that the new blu-ray is US only. So it'll set you back £30. Are there plans to release it over here?

great_badir

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2014, 07:56:49 AM »
I didn't realise that the new blu-ray is US only. So it'll set you back £30. Are there plans to release it over here?

This is what I thought originally but, despite what Amazon says, it is definitely region free.  I haven't bought it myself yet (see below), but my mate's got the American import one from Amazon UK.  If you go on Amazon US, you can view the back cover which will further confirm that there is no region coding.  But it is still pricy at the moment.

There is definitely a "European" release on the way (well, so says Friedkin), and I'm probably going to wait a bit longer anyway, as Friedkin said last year that he would definitely be giving it the same treatment that he gave to the Cruising re-release, so - commentary, documentary, deleted scenes, etc etc.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if this vanilla release (not even the trailer from the old DVD!) was just a rush-job to generate some quick and early cash flow, and extend whatever home video rights he has on it at the moment.

The Roofdog

  • you look and are as fat as meat ball
Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2014, 09:37:23 AM »
Yeah, Friedkin said it was region-free on twitter, I was more moaning about the price.

If there's a possibility he's going to add extras for the European release then I'll definitely be waiting, saw it fairly recently on the big screen anyway.

great_badir

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Re: William Friedkin's Sorcerer
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2014, 12:25:14 PM »
If there's a possibility he's going to add extras for the European release then I'll definitely be waiting, saw it fairly recently on the big screen anyway.

I wouldn't hold out on that.  More likely that he'll add them to a second US release within the next 6/12 months.  That's assuming a beefed up release IS still on the cards.