Monday, January 24, 2011

William Friedkin at the Sorcerer Screening


On Sunday night, I attended the second part in American Cinematheque Los Angeles' two-day tribute for director William Friedkin. The clear emphasis of the evening for this double-feature though was the neglected gem from 1977, Sorcerer. Screenwriter Josh Olson was in attendance and conducted the intro and the discussion afterwards. Josh has been the clear and leading champion for this film's appreciation: see last year's post on the film which includes his Trailers From Hell clip that lobbied fans of gritty and spectacular cinema of the 70s -- as well as Friedkin enthusiasts -- to check it out. I must say, Mr. Friedkin was in extraordinary form during the on-stage discussion with Josh in-between the screenings. I have to admit, too, it was a strange but exciting experience to be in a setting where a film as ferocious and seminal like The Exorcist takes second billing. But, it's one I savored because it was a long time coming. And if there is a movie that's finally getting the recognition it long deserved, this one (like Hickey & Boggs) is it.

I managed to record the interview (see links below) with only one real hiccup. Because the discussion went almost 20 minutes over the expected half hour duration, my wife's Flip recorder ran out of time -- luckily, I had my digital camera as back-up and that allowed me to finish the session. Some interesting highlights:
  • Josh Olson introduced the film (not recorded) and admitted to the entire audience of Friedkin followers that Sorcerer is his all-time favorite by the director (and no one raised an objection)
  • the director of the hour sat with the audience the whole time and enjoyed watching the stellar print of the film which the American Cinematheque acquired for the event
  • quick survey (show of hands) by Josh showed that the majority in the theatre's attendance had never seen Sorcerer -- Josh was plainly really thrilled by that knowing they would be in for a treat
  • William Friedkin, if you watch the entire interview, can crack a funny line with the best of them; he drew multiple laughs throughout the discussion (and ends the fact- and anecdote-filled interview with a perfect close-out story that was the ideal intro for the second feature)
  • there will definitely be a Blu-ray disc of the film! Friedkin, after he completes post-production of his latest work, should start the BD and remastering process for Sorcerer around March of this year.
  • as Josh Olson anticipated, after the film's quintessential 70s ending played out and Sorcerer's end credits appeared, a loud and boisterous applause was thrown by the audience
Below is the start of that event discussion which began as the lights came up (and here are the links to parts 2, 3, 4, and 5). I hope you enjoy -- I sure did.

12 comments:

  1. Awesome! Thanks for this report. Sounds like a blast. Good to know that SORCERER is finally getting the home video release it deserves.

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  2. You just made me miss LA for the first time. Awesome event.

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  3. Thanks for this, Michael!  Laughed at the intermission graphic of "Flip Cam Toast..." but you were on it, man.  Good job.  Great stories.

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  4. This was definitely a blast, J.D. And the best news was the Blu-ray Disc in our future. Thanks.

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  5. It was awesome. Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Thanks, Christine. It was fun.

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  7. The Sci-Fi FanaticJanuary 25, 2011 at 5:37 AM

    I really enjoyed this.  I'm envious.  Very cool event.  It must have been something on the big screen.  Thrilled about the Blu-Ray.  You've definitely got me interested in picking up this upon arrival [and angel Heart too]. Cheers. SFF

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  8. Glad to hear it, SFF. Yes, quite an event and something to see on the big screen (it's been over 30 years since I did just that). The BD will be one to get. Thanks, my friend.

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  9. Yeah, it was really great to hear about that BD that will be on the way. Thanks much for your comment, my friend.

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  10. Yes, it was very great news about that upcoming BD, SFF. Thanks so much for your comment, my friend.

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  11. I plan to watch this entire video when I have a little more time, I am so grateful you recorded it and thanks for passing along the tremendous news that Sorcerer will be getting a Blu-ray soon, the current non-widescreen DVD is a tremendous disappointment.

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  12. Yes, that was the best news of that evening. Whenever that Blu-ray Disc arrives, I'll be picking it up the first day. Hope you enjoy the video. Thanks, Colonel.

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