As the proud parent of this blog, it’s not gonna come as much of a surprise that Sorcerer is one of my all-time favorite films. It affected me deeply back in 1977 (really kicked my butt, in fact) and has continued to knock me out as I’ve watched the full-frame laserdisc every couple years.
Seeing Sorcerer on Blu-ray, I was re-reminded (is that a word?) of just what a powerful experience William Friedkin’s masterpiece really is. From the level of grain to the framing to the sound design, everything took me back to the Valley Twin in June 1977. (I can still remember the curtains on either side of the screen.) Maybe that retrieved memory of the theatrical experience is why it was so powerful again. Maybe it was all the anticipation that built up as the lawsuit, transfer and re-release played out. Or maybe it’s proof of just how much difference the transfer can make to a film’s ultimate impact.
Folks, the Blu-ray is beautiful, stunning at times. We normally think of saturated color with happy films, MGM musicals and stuff like that. But with Sorcerer, the heightened color levels actually add to the squalor, turn up the heat on the oil rig fire and make the jungle more dense and scary than ever. (Are the Mercedes’ in Israel really that red?) What’s more, Sorcerer‘s sound design has always been its secret weapon (and sole Oscar nomination), and it’s flawlessly reproduced here.
I never thought I’d see Sorcerer looking this good, much less looking this good in my living room. I want to thank Mr. Friedkin for seeing it through.
Of course, we’re all disappointed that the Blu-ray isn’t loaded down with extras. But the realities of schedules and budgets and projected sales probably entered into things, and I’m glad the resources went to the transfer. Extras are extras. It’s the film itself that matters in the end.
NOTE: You’re probably aware of the trouble with the new Sorcerer DVD. It’s the old full-frame transfer that does the film a true disservice. Friedkin did not authorize its re-use and vows to rectify things. Stay tuned. But for those of you who haven’t made the switch, isn’t this the perfect time to upgrade to Blu-ray?