Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Return of Sorcerer

Okay, I'm going to flat out mimic someone else's post about a screening for a little seen and under-appreciated film. In their case, that someone is author Duane Swierczynski (writer of crime thriller fame and various Marvel comic characters), and his post was the one that spotlighted last Friday's showing of a forgotten film he categorizes as one, "downbeat, sunbaked PI movie":

I'd have loved to have been there and watched it on the big screen (as I originally did back in October 1972). I've maintained a firm love of this film coming up on four decades now. Nonetheless, I'll have to settle for another like gem from that same decade, this one closer to my neck of the woods. The 1977 neglected film, Sorcerer. For those who are interested, here's the link to my appreciative post of the film from April 2010:

Strangle-Hold: The Gripping Films of William Friedkin

The good folks over at the American Cinematheque Los Angeles will host a similarly cool event this upcoming weekend. They'll welcome the one-of-a-kind William Friedkin to the Aero Theatre for a two-day retrospective of his films, with a discussion between films with the director each day. While all of the films presented at this function are extraordinary (and most have been seen and lauded over through the years in revival theaters and celebrated DVD releases), it is Sorcerer that has been the least seen of the lot and earned the title of forsaken. And it still doesn't have a decent release on disc. Luckily, as with Hickey & Boggs, that seems to be changing. The film where Mr. Friedkin earned his less-than-affectionate nickname of 'Hurricane Billy' has been climbing in many people's estimations. So, catching this film in a theater will be a treat.
"Friedkin’s most visually awesome film follows small-time crook Roy Scheider from Brooklyn to the sweltering South American jungles, where he lands a job hauling nitroglycerine with hard-luck losers Bruno Cremer and Francisco Rabal. Rather than simply remake Henri-Georges Clouzot’s famed WAGES OF FEAR, Friedkin re-imagined the story as a cosmic vision of man vs. nature, climaxing in the mind-bending image of Scheider and crew literally pushing a loaded truck across a spindly rope bridge." ~ American Cinematheque at The Aero
I would herald the new 35mm print being made available for the show, and forgive me for saying this in the most antithetical of manners, but the event had me at hello.


  1. :-D I've never seen it (no surprise) but I'll watch for it. That's a great graphic!

  2. Oh wow, what a rare treat! I hope someone asks him about its status on DVD. What a perfect title for Criterion to give their deluxe treatment.

  3. Yeah, that's easily the most used shot from the film, Naomi. If you get a chance to see it, that sequence in film will make it crystal clear why it was chosen for the one-sheet. Thanks.

  4. If someone doesn't ask, I sure will ;) .

    Thanks, J.D.

  5. Oh wow, I have to see if I convince the wife to cancel our plans to see this, I adore Sorcerer and have only experienced it via the full frame DVD, I hope you will post another write-up of the event a la your Escape from New York post

  6. If at all possible, you <span>need</span> to experience Sorcerer on the big screen, Colonel. The current DVD really robs the viewer of the visual impact this film brings. If I can, I'll try to post something about it. Thanks, my friend.

  7. I have to tell you that I've never seen this film, but I always hear about it.

    The combination of Scheider and Friedkin sounds riveting.  I'd really love to see a Criterion Blu Ray out of the gate.

    Count me in.  Glad you covered it. Be sure to keep us posted.  Best,  SFF.

  8. This one really yearns for a descent disc release (and if the Criterion folk do it, you'd hear a collective cheer from fans). I know someone is going ask Mr Friedkin about this (for sure). Thanks, SFF.