Celebrating William Friedkin!
Time to hear from the Director who gave you this movie image – one of the most iconic of all time:
He directed “The Exorcist” – the scariest film of all time – and one of the greatest movies ever made…
He also won an Oscar for Best Director, and won Best Picture in 1971 for one of the greatest chase movies ever made “The French Connection”:
He directed Al Pacino in one of his most controversial roles ever – as an undercover cop who gets “too undercover” in “Cruising”:
And he directed one of the most neglected classics ever – the remake of “The Wages Of Fear” called “Sorcerer”:
And JUST announced by the Director on twitter: “SORCERER will be re-released this year with a new digital Print. The world premiere is on my birthday, Aug.29, At the Venice festival.” He also added that a blu-ray release is underway as well!
Everybody Wang Chung Tonight!
Friedkin also made the seminal LA chase movie -with a terrific soundtrack by Wang Chung!
What A Career!
There are many more films to discuss, and what better way to hear about them than from the great Director himself?
The Friedkin Connection!
The long-awaited memoir from the Academy Award–winning director of such legendary films as “The French Connection”, “The Exorcist”, and “To Live and Die in LA” is here! The autobiography is called, appropriately, “The Friedkin Connection” – and as amazon says, “it takes readers from the streets of Chicago to the suites of Hollywood and from the sixties to today, with autobiographical storytelling as fast-paced and intense as any of the auteur’s films.”
I am a huge fan of Friedkin’s work, from his breakthrough film “The Boys In The Band” to his latest, “Killer Joe”…and of course, his best picture of 1971:
Anecdotes! Anecdotes! Anecdotes!
He has an amazing career full of great anecdotes, and the book tells them all. The website FishbowlLA related this great anecdote from the book:
In 1966, when Friedkin was just getting started as a director on the TV side, he had the privilege of being asked to read the script for a planned feature film version of Director Blake Edwards’ earlier TV series “Peter Gunn.” But it’s what happened at a subsequent Monday morning breakfast meeting that really made the difference:
“So what do you think?” Edwards asked.
I chose my words carefully, but I had to say what I felt and accept the consequences. “Blake, I think the script is a piece of sh*t.”
He looked up in shock, his English muffin poised in midair. “What?” He set his muffin down and looked at me directly, not so much mad as confused. “What did you just say?” A bitter smile crossed his lips.
There were two other people at the time in the Paramount Studios bungalow, one of whom Friedkin had never been introduced to. That individual in the corner turned out to be the uncredited author of the Peter Gunn screenplay, William Peter Blatty.
Five years later, Friedkin was surprised to receive a copy of the book The Exorcist and a note from author Blatty to call once he had read it. When the two connected, Blatty explained: “I sent you the book because I remember our meeting outside Blake Edwards’ office about Peter Gunn, and how you had the balls to tell us what a piece of sh*t it was, even though it cost you a job; and I believe you’d never bullsh*t me.”
Even though Friedkin’s name was not next to those of Stanley Kubrick, Mike Nichols and Arthur Penn on the Warner Bros. wish list, Blatty had director approval and wanted Friedkin. The rest is history…
Without a doubt, “The Exorcist” was a cultural phenomenon when it was released in 1973: people were reported passing out in the theaters showing the film, or running our sick…it was a media frenzy, a pop culture sensation, and don’t forget – it was nominated for best picture as well – it is a masterpiece…
It is one of the greatest films ever made, and quite simply – the scariest, most shocking movie ever released…
Director William Friedkin made this two years after he won the Oscar for Best Picture for “The French Connection”…
“The Exorcist” was also nominated for Best Picture of 1973 – along with a slew of other nominations and accolades:
Regan MacNeil: “My bed was shaking. I can’t get to sleep.”
Talk about an understatement!
“The Exorcist” is the ultimate confrontation between a frail, elderly priest and an old demonic enemy – good versus evil in its purest form.
Demon: What an excellent day for an exorcism.
Father Damien Karras: You would like that?
Father Damien Karras: But wouldn’t that drive you out of Regan?
Demon: It would bring us together.
Father Damien Karras: You and Regan?
Demon: You and us.
“The Power Of Christ Compels You!”
The refrigerated bedroom set was cooled with four air conditioners and temperatures would plunge to around 30 to 40 below zero. It was so cold that perspiration would freeze on some of the cast and crew. On one occasion the air was saturated with moisture resulting in a thin layer of snow falling on the set before the crew arrived for filming.
And cure even more iconic moments from the film:
Demon: “Your mother sucks cocks in Hell, Karras, you faithless slime!”
Oh yeah, and then there is the “head turn” sequence! This film is so intense and scary that the original teaser trailer, which consisted of nothing but images of the white-faced demon quickly flashing in and out of darkness, was banned in many theaters, as it was deemed “too frightening”.
And then of course, there is the projectile vomiting scene!
The substance that the possessed Regan (Linda Blair) hurls at Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) is thick pea soup. Specifically, it’s Andersen’s brand pea soup. The crew tried Campbell’s but didn’t like the “effect.”
Tons of great stories and commentaries on the special edition blu-ray….check it out and relive a classic!
“The Friedkin Connection!”
Make sure to check out “The Friedkin Connection” to read all of the stories from the great Director himself!
Finally, you can click below to read a story I previously posted all about Friedkin’s latest film “Killer Joe”, one of 2012’s best – and I did a quick look at his other classics, such as 1971’s Best Picture “The French Connection” as well as “To Live And Die In LA”!
And check out the mesmerizing soundtrack to the film “To Live And Die In LA”, from Wang Chung!
Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Awards, Books / Media, Film Noir, Golden Globes, Horror films, Movies, Music, Obscure Movies, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities, TV Show, Uncategorized
I can’t help but wish there was a Stanley Kubrick version of The Exorcist out there, though, like the Schrader and Harlin versions of the Exorcist prequel. Maybe in a parallel universe.
Also, I always forget that Friedkin directed The French Connection, which is arguably as good or better than The Exorcist, even though it’s not as accessible to my raised-in-the-80s sensibilities.
Yes, 70’s films have such a different pace and tone – he addresses it a bit I think in “To Live And Die In LA”…oh, and as for his 90’s “Jade”…..
Thanks as always for reading and for commenting, i really appreciate it! Love your blog!
Hey, right back atcha!