From a recent interview with William Friedkin for A.V. Club.
AVC: You’ve made films that were successful and films that weren’t, but it seems like the failure of Sorcerer is particularly painful for you.
William Friedkin: All of my films are not successful. I don’t have the same affection for all of them. Sorcerer has been a noose around my neck since 1977, but I can’t let it die that way. The films that you make are very much like your children or someone you feel very close to. Not necessarily a relative. You would do everything you could to save them. And that’s what I’m doing. It’s all in God’s hands, and I know that. Believe me, when I heard that both studios were claiming that they didn’t own the film and they didn’t know who did, my first reaction was, “Oh, the hell with it. Let me just let it die.” And then something else kicked in, you know, where I can’t do that. So I have no idea how it’s going to wind up, but if it does wind up that either I can get them to put it out or somebody else, it’ll be out there for whoever wants to see it. That’s all.
AVC: It’s always been true, but it seems especially so now that a film is forgotten if it’s not in circulation on DVD, let alone available in a nice new 35mm print.
William Friedkin: There are no 35 prints. A 35 print has a shelf-life of about two years before it starts to fade and die. You take The Godfather, Paramount’s crown jewel. A couple of years ago they went to make a Blu-ray of it, they went into their vaults to get the negative, and it had all faded. In their own vaults! Because that’s the shelf life of a 35. I had a print of Sorcerer. We put it up on reels, projected it, and it was all red! But Paramount had made a brand-new print of Sorcerer a year ago for the American Cinematheque. Or “Cinema-drek,” I’m not sure of the pronunciation. They ran it there; it was a full house, and lines around the block. I was there; the print was beautiful… Now they say they don’t own the film and they don’t know who does. And I know what’s going on. I know what’s behind it.