THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED FROM OUR ORIGINAL POSTING OF JANUARY 6. THE BLU-RAY PACKAGING ART HAS BEEN ADDED AND THE TITLE IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER FROM AMAZON.
Good news for fans of William Friedkin's underrated 1977 classic Sorcerer: after years of false starts, the remastered film will now be available on Blu-ray through Warner Home Video. Check out the press release we've just received from them:
Burbank, Calif., January 6, 2014 –William Friedkin’s Sorcerer, the cult suspense thriller
that has been largely overlooked since its 1977 release, has now been acquired
and fully restored by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and will make its Blu-ray™
debut on April 22, 2014. The release, also available on DVD, will be packaged
as a 40-page Blu-ray book filled with beautiful images from the film and
excerpts from the book, “The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir.”
Sorcerer is derived from the same Georges Arnaud novel that inspired
Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1953 French classic, The Wages of Fear. The film, made following the successes of
Friedkin’s The FrenchConnection and The Exorcist, tells the story of four men who, for various reasons,
cannot return to their own countries and end up in a dismal South American town
where an American oil company is seeking courageous drivers willing to haul
nitroglycerin through 200 miles of treacherous terrain. The four displaced men
have nothing to lose so they agree for a small payment of cash.
Roy Scheider (Jaws),Bruno
Cremer (Under the Sun), Francisco Rabal (Dagon) and Amidou (Ronin) star in Sorcerer which Friedkin directed
from a Walon Green (The Wild Bunch) screenplay. The haunting music was the
first credit for Tangerine Dream, the German electronic experimental band who
went on to provide many successful scores for such films as “Risky Business,”
“VisionQuest” and “Catch Me if You Can.”
Over the years, awareness of the film has been steadily building as a
result of Friedkin fan requests and newly-found praise from critics.
Then last year, the director was asked to introduce Sorcerer for its
screeningatthe Venice 70th International Film Festival where
he was presented with the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement.
In a recent L.A. Times interview,
prior to the Venice Film Festival, Friedkin offered some theories as to why the
film may have failed to achieve commercial success when it was initially released:
"The only known actor, who was not a major star, was Roy Scheider…and
people didn't really understand the significance of the title [the name of one
of the trucks] -- they thought it was a film similar to 'The Exorcist.’ [But
most importantly], the film came out just after 'Star Wars,' a movie that
became the template for the future of American film, which it basically still
“I have a great fondness for Sorcerer, more than any
other film I’ve made.. Sorcerer is the one I hope to be
remembered for and the one film that came closest to my vision.”
The film has been remastered by Warner Bros., under Friedkin’s supervision
along with colorist Bryan McMahan who has worked with the director since 1994. "The
new restoration makes the film appear as if it was just made. None of the
essentials — the clothes, the hair — are dated in any way. It looks the way it
looked to me when I looked through the lens of the camera," said Friedkin.
The restoration began with a 4K film resolution scan of the
original 35mm camera negative.
Ned Price, Chief Preservation Officer of Warner Bros.
Technical Operations, who oversees restoration projects for the studio, said,
“I was amazed at the brilliance of the original photography. Up to this point,
I had only seen poor quality 35mm theatrical prints made from inferior
subtitled dupe negatives. Working from the 4K scan allowed us to free up all
the information contained in the original negatives.”
The soundtrack was restored from the original 35mm 4-track
stereo masters which were in remarkably good condition and contained full dynamic
The new restoration allows audiences to appreciate the true
visual and aural impact of this film.
them: Peter Sobczynski,,eFilmCritic.Com; Brent Lang,,The
Wrap; Nat Segaloff, Harvard Film Archive..