The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: The Exorcist

#76 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:06 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:That's the old, original trailer-- isn't it?

I got my hands on a copy of it, and I've been trying to get through it over the past few days, but it's real hard going. Some of it is just buttclenchingly bad.

I know there are lots of cineastes whose opinions I respect who think this is the best of the trilogy-- that its not even close-- so I'm going to stick it out to the end.
That trailer is just so ridiculous that there's no way I can take the film seriously now. I'm actually kinda looking forward to seeing how bad Burton is here. I'm stoked for the buttclenching badness of it. Besides, I've got Excorcist III to look forward to after this.

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Re: The Exorcist

#77 Post by cdnchris » Sat Sep 26, 2009 4:01 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:That's the old, original trailer-- isn't it?

I got my hands on a copy of it, and I've been trying to get through it over the past few days, but it's real hard going. Some of it is just buttclenchingly bad.

I know there are lots of cineastes whose opinions I respect who think this is the best of the trilogy-- that its not even close-- so I'm going to stick it out to the end.
It's a piece of shit. I've read defences of it and I don't see it. I think it had some decent ideas but again it's just incredibly silly and incompetently made and contains Burton's worst performance (which I think says a lot since the guy's done some hammy things.)

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Re: The Exorcist

#78 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:02 pm

I just watched that trailer without sound while the Buenos Aries cast version of Fiddler On The Roof was playing on a podcast (don't ask). It synched up perfectly and amounted to such a overwhelmingly bizarre experience that I think I've just inadvertently fried my brain.

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Re: The Exorcist

#79 Post by Matt » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:17 pm

I may have issues with Friedkin's revisionism, but bless him for quashing any notion of The Exorcist in 3-D (not that there was any actual threat of that happening).

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Re: The Exorcist

#80 Post by Highway 61 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:53 pm

William Friedkin wrote:Fuck 3D!
I know everyone else thinks he's a prick, but I love foul mouthed Friedkin.

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Re: The Exorcist

#81 Post by cdnchris » Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:45 pm

I was more fond of this statement of the Exorcist sequels
Friedkin wrote:All of the sequels suck. All of the fucking sequels of it? I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire. They are all shit.
(Though I do like the third one.)

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Re: The Exorcist

#82 Post by Matt » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:13 pm


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Re: The Exorcist

#83 Post by manicsounds » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:09 am

The Exorcist: 2 disc BD Digibook October 5th

Great news to have both versions PLUS new extras!
Disc 1: - Extended Director's Cut (2000) plus Special Features
Commentary by William Friedkin
Raising Hell: Filming the Exorcist – set footage produced and photographed by Owen Roizman, camera and makeup tests, and interviews with director William Friedkin, actress Linda Blair, author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty and Owen Roizman (new; Blu-ray exclusive)
The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now – Featuring a tour of the iconic locations where the film was shot (new; Blu-ray exclusive)
Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist – with director William Friedkin and author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty discussing the different versions of the film and featuring outtakes from the film (new; Blu-ray exclusive)
Trailers, TV spots & radio spots from the film's 2000 release
Disc 2 - Theatrical Cut (1973) plus Special Features
Introduction by William Friedkin
Commentaries:
William Friedkin
William Peter Blatty with Special Sound Effects Tests
The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist [1998 BBC documentary]
Additional interviews with William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty:
The Original Cut
Stairway to Heaven
The Final Reckoning
Original ending
Sketches & storyboards
Trailers & TV spots from the 1973 version

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Re: The Exorcist

#84 Post by Finch » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:57 pm

Doesn't clarify if we get the same release as the US. Won't get this until some reviews of the AV come in lest I pay for a French Connection-style botch. Also can't believe that Friedkin considers the extended cut now as the definitive cut (awful ending and too much CGI) although you could make a case for some scenes like the staircase conversation between von Sydow and Jason Miller adding further depth to the film. In fact, my ideal cut would be the theatrical cut with that scene and the spiderwalk thrown in. Pity the Blu won't have a branching option but at least Friedkin has agreed to offer both cuts and hopefully Warner will treat it with the same care as Blatty's cut (I'm trying to think not too hard about how fans of the workprint of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid got screwed over with an unrestored print on the DVD!).

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Re: The Exorcist

#85 Post by aox » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:00 pm

I personally felt the spiderwalk scene destroyed the film (or, that cut) single-handily.

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Re: The Exorcist

#86 Post by knives » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:09 pm

What's people's problem with the spiderwalk scene? I thought it was very effective as horror in a film that for years I treated exclusively as a drama.

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Re: The Exorcist

#87 Post by Finch » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:14 pm

I'm curious as well. Was it the special effect that didn't work for you?

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Re: The Exorcist

#88 Post by Highway 61 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:06 pm

Mr Finch wrote:Also can't believe that Friedkin considers the extended cut now as the definitive cut
I doubt that he does. I'm sure that "extended director's cut" is just WB's branding. I recall that Friedkin was his typically blunt self when discussing "The Version You've Never Seen" in interviews. He said that he only approved it as a favor to Blatty. Of course, after The French Connection BD, who knows?

I think the real tell will be if each cut has a solid transfer. I'm dreading the possibility that WB will neglect the theatrical version.

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Re: The Exorcist

#89 Post by aox » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:11 am

Mr Finch wrote:I'm curious as well. Was it the special effect that didn't work for you?
Pretty much. It doesn't hold up that well IMO. And while I can't criticize it for making the film less subtle (Head turning? "Fuck me"?, etc....), it does do something to that effect. It definitely tips the scale for me almost bringing this film from a situation of suspending disbelief to outright comedy. I am very happy he chose to cut it from the original cut. The film didn't need it.

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Re: The Exorcist

#90 Post by Jeff » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:17 am

Highway 61 wrote:
Mr Finch wrote:Also can't believe that Friedkin considers the extended cut now as the definitive cut
I doubt that he does. I'm sure that "extended director's cut" is just WB's branding. I recall that Friedkin was his typically blunt self when discussing "The Version You've Never Seen" in interviews. He said that he only approved it as a favor to Blatty.
From the Blu-ray press release:
Regarding the two versions, director William Friedkin says, "After my final cut of the original The Exorcist, I took out 12 more minutes before we actually released it in theatres. Years later, Bill Blatty asked if I'd consider reviewing some of that rejected footage (which he always felt should have remained) with an eye towards putting it into a new version. Bill gave me the best piece of material I've ever received and because of that and because the film had such a major reputation over some 25 years, I agreed to revisit all these scenes. When I saw them, I came to realize that Bill was, in fact, right. With technical advances, scenes that didn't work then could now be fixed with CGI and there were others that I thought strengthened the spiritual aspect of the film. Warner agreed and released a whole new theatrical print in 2000 which we called The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen. And I now agree with Blatty that this is the best and most complete version."
I'm very pleased that the theatrical version (with its full complement of DVD supplements) is being included here.

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Re: The Exorcist

#91 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:22 am

I'm tempted to say "Everyone's a winner" but then I remembered the color on the French Connection and it's worth noting that this could still come up a cherry short of the jackpot

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Re: The Exorcist

#92 Post by Finch » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:13 pm

Looks as though we Brits will be getting the same release as the US although there is still a question mark over whether this time the complete Fear of God will be making it across the atlantic.
Warner Home Video have announced the UK Blu-ray Disc release of The Exorcist on 11th October 2010. Newly remastered in 1080p from the original camera negative, the Blu-ray includes both the remastered Extended Director’s Cut as well as the remastered theatrical version of the film.

The 2-Disc Blu-ray contains three new documentaries; Raising Hell: Filming the Exorcist, including new revealing set footage produced and photographed by cinematographer Owen Roizman, as well as camera and makeup tests, interviews with Friedkin, actress Linda Blair, author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty and Roizman himself. The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now featuring a tour of the iconic locations where the film was shot and including a visit to the famous “Exorcist steps”. Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist sees Friedkin and Blatty discussing the different versions of the film and showing outtakes. The result is a new immersive viewing experience that takes you on the set of the film and offers a unique, up-close perspective of the filmmaking and special effects process that is rarely seen. The UK version will also include the Mark Kermode documentary The Fear of God which sees the renowned critic talking about why The Exorcist is his favourite film.

Disc 1: The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Not Seen

* Commentary by William Friedkin
* Raising Hell: Filming The Exorcist
* The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now
* Face of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist
* The Version You’ve Never Seen (Trailer)
* Our Deepest Fear (Trailer)
* Most Electrifying (TV Spot)
* Scariest (TV Spot)
* The Exorcist Returns (Trailer)
* The Devil Himself (Radio Spot)
* Our Deepest Fear (Radio Spot)


Disc 2: The Exorcist (Theatrical Version)

* Commentary by Willa Friedkin
* Commentary by William Peter Blatty with Special Sound Effect
* Fear of God
* Original Ending
* Sketches & Storyboards
* The Original Cut (Additional Interviews with Friedkin & Blatty)
* Stairway to Heaven (Additional Interviews with Friedkin & Blatty)
* The Final Reckoning (Additional Interviews with Friedkin & Blatty)
* Introduction by William Friedkin
* Nobody Expected It (Theatrical Trailer)
* Beyond Comprehension (Theatrical Trailer)
* Flash Image (Theatrical Trailer)
* Beyond Comprehension (TV Spot)
* You Too Can See The Exorcist (TV Spot)
* Between Sceince & Superstition (TV Spot)
* The Movie You’ve Been Waiting For (TV Spot)

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Re: The Exorcist

#93 Post by Killerinstinct » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:20 pm

aox wrote:I personally felt the spiderwalk scene destroyed the film (or, that cut) single-handidly.
Seconded! Why try to improve on perfection in such a revoltingly ridiculous manner? The suspension of disbelief was shot to hell instantly!

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Re: The Exorcist

#94 Post by Roger Ryan » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:54 pm

Killerinstinct wrote:
aox wrote:I personally felt the spiderwalk scene destroyed the film (or, that cut) single-handidly.
Seconded! Why try to improve on perfection in such a revoltingly ridiculous manner? The suspension of disbelief was shot to hell instantly!
I'm in the camp that likes it...if only because the lead-in scene in the original theatrical cut always seemed to end too abruptly. Given that you're treated to a rotating head a little later in the film, I don't think the "spider walk" is a complete break from the mood established by the rest of the film.

I can't say I'm a fan of the extended ending with Lee J. Cobb, however; the original ending is tops.

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Re: The Exorcist

#95 Post by Killerinstinct » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:53 am

Roger Ryan wrote:
Killerinstinct wrote:
aox wrote:I personally felt the spiderwalk scene destroyed the film (or, that cut) single-handidly.
Seconded! Why try to improve on perfection in such a revoltingly ridiculous manner? The suspension of disbelief was shot to hell instantly!
I'm in the camp that likes it... Given that you're treated to a rotating head a little later in the film, I don't think the "spider walk" is a complete break from the mood established by the rest of the film.
I have no rational response to offer. I accepted the rotating head in a state of sheer terror, but the spider walk ruined the entire edition of this movie to me, it made devil possession appear like a misguided, unintentionally hilarious and ridiculous attempt at a freak showcase to me, if you catch my drift. (Jeezus, I must be ready for the loony bin any minute as I expend energy on trying to elaborate this!)

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Re: The Exorcist

#96 Post by knives » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:42 pm

I also prefer the new version actually. The spiderwalk fits what comes before and after to me and manages to be genuinely scary. The theatrical cut, and I'll admit I'm a bit of an oddball for this, at the best works as a decent drama for me. So does the new cut, but it at least manages a few frightening things before the exorcism. Without a few of the smaller changes though it feels repetitive and lacking in urgency. Of course the new cut has the increased role of that detective who should have been entirely stripped away. That piece of fat in any version kills off the momentum for me every time.

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Re: The Exorcist

#97 Post by aox » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:33 pm

I have sat all morning trying to quantify my feelings on why the spider-walk doesn't work for me without resorting to it's cartoony-ness or break in subtlety which can easily be lobbed at the conclusion. If we are going to take the pro-Spider-walk argument that it fits the motif of the film citing the head-spin scene that comes later, the spider-walk scene becomes even more frustrating to me since it then renders the head spin unsurprising and ultimately anti-climatic. The film already blew its load on the spider-walk scene and Friedkin is unable to 1-up it later with the head-spin. Honestly, this destroys any of the tension sustained throughout the film.

Knives correctly points out that this film plays like a drama, which to me, makes the last twenty minutes much more terrifying. It's a wonderful exercise in building tension, and despite the absurdness of the accusation in a film about exorcism, I do see it as actually breaking the subtlety of the film that is a family drama until the end. It disrupts the meticulously masterful buildup of tension for me that erupts in the conclusion. Friedkin overplays his hand with this scene in my opinion. Omitting the spider-walk scene is a classic and affirming textbook example of a film, already mired in an over-the-top subject matter, succeeding with 'less is more'.

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Re: The Exorcist

#98 Post by oldsheperd » Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:27 pm

I wonder how much of new horror films with weird shit in them like the spider walk scene have influenced our opinions. I for one find the original to be scary enough but the spider-walk scene is definitely unsettling. You gotta give em props for using a contorionist to do the scene instead of some anamatronics or other special effects.

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Re: The Exorcist

#99 Post by HarryLong » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:20 pm

oldsheperd wrote:I wonder how much of new horror films with weird shit in them like the spider walk scene have influenced our opinions. I for one find the original to be scary enough but the spider-walk scene is definitely unsettling. You gotta give em props for using a contorionist to do the scene instead of some anamatronics or other special effects.
I'm trying to remember if animatronics were sufficiently advanced at that time for the technique to be convincing. I suspect not. If I recall the head-turning dummy was quite an advancement...
To parallel your question, I wonder how much new horror films are killing our appreciation of the slow build. Most newer entries seem to have to hit you in the face with something within the first few minutes.
I find myself with aox on this one. I'm not a particular fan of the first EXORCIST, but what works about is is that up to a point well past the halfway mark things might be a trifle weird or unusual but they're not definitively supernatural. As an audience member you've gone in knowing that they WILL be, but the characters are dealingw ith uncertainty and denial that there's soemthing more going on than a little girl with emotional/mental problems.

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Re: The Exorcist

#100 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:04 pm

The "spider-walk" scene was done with wires supporting Blair or, more likely, her stunt double. Using 1973 technology, Friedkin was unable to successfully hide the wires so opted to cut the scene short. By 2000, he was able to use computer technology to digitally remove the wires.

I understand where everyone is coming from as I often prefer "less-is-more" as well. It's just that the scene as originally played always felt like it was missing something...which it was! It's not like Friedkin reshot the scene to give it a different balance; it appears that he fully intended to include the "spider-walk" until he realized the effect would not work in post-production.

Ultimately, I don't think the film suffers too much from the more gratuitous effects as it is still amazingly low-key for a horror film; the opening 30 minutes alone are enough to confound a modern horror fan looking for shocks. At the same time, I don't have any real conviction towards the "spider-walk", "head-turning" stuff since the more subtle psychological elements are what make THE EXORCIST a superlative film for me.

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