About

The name’s Toby. I’m a writer. A dad. A husband. A movie geek. A record collector. And I really wish I had a hot rod.

My goal for this blog is to create a makeshift Sorcerer archive — news, interviews, photos, whatever. Kinda like bonus material waiting for a DVD. Or maybe it’s just a digital valentine for a movie I love dearly.

My dad and I saw Sorcerer opening night at the Valley Twin in Raleigh, North Carolina (June 24, 1977 — 7PM, according to the ad at right). It remains the most intense evening I ever spent in a movie theater. (I’d just turned 13.) Sadly, the Valley Twin is now an Old Navy store.

My best friend James Graham and I saw it again before it left town.

William Friedkin has steered Sorcerer through the legal jungles of Hollywood, and it’s returned to festivals. A polished-up 4K digital transfer is playing theaters and available on Blu-ray and DVD.

No doubt fueled by news of Friedkin’s efforts to get Sorcerer back in front of those of us dying to see it (and own it), reaction to this blog has been terrific. As its proud parent, and as a self-appointed evangelist for Friedkin’s masterpiece, I’ve really been knocked out by how many people have stopped by. And I was absolutely floored to receive this:

Picture 19 cropped
__________ 

Sorcerer is currently being overseen by Warner Bros. and Universal. I’m not trying to infringe on their copyright or rip anybody off — just geeking out on a favorite film.

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58 Responses to About

  1. Neal Arbic says:

    Hi Toby,

    Thought since your a fan as I am of Sorcerer, you like these two links:

    https://www.facebook.com/SaveFriedkinsSorcerer

    https://twitter.com/SaveSorcerer

    I’m trying to build public support the film!

  2. D. K. Holm says:

    Hi! I have a 3-page PDF of a critical analysis of Sorcerer published in the film magazine Cinemonkey back in the late 1970s. If you give me an address, I can email it to you for your archive.

    • John Molina says:

      Did you just re-post this yesterday?

      I for one would be interested: solo_2000@cox.net

      I read in a blog that Sorcerer was screen May 11 in LA! Is there any confirmation on this?

      • D. K. Holm says:

        By the way, I’m curious if anyone can identify a music cue in Sorcerer. It’s the scene in which the gangsters in New Jersey enter a restaurant to give the bad news about the robbery. There is a short excerpt of a jazz piece, but I’ve never seen it identified. I am guessing it is by Miles Davis, because of some things that Mr. Friedkin wrote in his recent memoir, but that is only a guess.

  3. John Molina says:

    That interview may be a little tough to get. Recently Mr. Friedkin appeared in public in LA, I think for a showing of either SORCERER or TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. for a Q & A session. The bio HURRICANE BILLY by Nat Segaloff devotes a chapter to the making of SORCERER. Maybe contact the author through the publisher (Morrow) if he is still living. Much of the cast and crew are either dead, retired or live outside the US. The French-Morrocan actor, Amidou, the last surviving member of our ill-fated quartet, was last seen on American screens in SPY GAME with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. That was in 2001. He does TV and movies in France.

  4. Stephen Munro says:

    I am in Scotland and I too was fortunate to see it in it original release and then again on VHS. I am a huge fan of this masterpiece. It amusing that I only got round to watching the original a few years ago and as wonderful a movie as it is I wasn’t as gripped as I know I had been with The Sorcerer. Thanks for this site Toby, and will be visiting very often to check for hopeful announcement of a blu ray release date Maybe ?

    • Toby says:

      Thanks for stopping by.

      With a short-lived theatrical release and different versions (and titles) in various countries, I’m always interested in how people discovered this film. Whether we see it in the theater or on video in whatever format, one thing seems consistent — it can grab ahold of you and not let go!

  5. Ron Paquet says:

    Just love this movie.

    I have a 70mm trailer for it.

    • Toby says:

      Maybe it ran before Star Wars in Hollywood!

      Bet it’s beautiful. Has the color held up?

      • Ron Paquet says:

        Unfortunately the colour has turned a bit.

        What I also have is the screenplay. Now this is quite interesting. There are additional scenes not in the film and some scenes are much longer. If all this material was in fact filmed there should be a lot of deleted footage that could be included in the new DVD/Blu-ray releases.

      • Toby says:

        Would love to see the screenplay.

        I always get the feeling that Friedkin treats scripts the way John Ford did working to see how little of them he actually needs to use.

  6. Ronnie Sortor says:

    Eat your heart out Toby (and other SORCERER fans)! I won a letterboxed 16mm print of SORCERER on eBay a few months ago: http://www.ebay.com/itm/181028746800 It’s a little faded but otherwise in great shaped and uncut. I took a few screen shots as it was projected that I’d like to share for your site.. And next time you’re in Southwest Missouri, I’d be delighted to screen the print for ya! 😉

  7. John Molina says:

    How did you acquire the screenplay? I know there is a website where it is $15.00 per script. I’m a writer myself. Of course, if you were familiar with the making of the movie, you would know that there was more to what we saw in the film.

  8. Toby, here you can download an interview with a screenwriter who was so influenced by Sorcerer, that upon seeing it, he decided to get into this biz:

    http://www.mediafire.com/view/?lhxesjng7004i1t

    There are his impressions and also how he’d see yet another film adaptation of this story…

    I obtained it from EBSCO database, so it couldn’t be freely found on the internet…

  9. Ron Paquet says:

    My copy of the script came from Script City a long time ago. Their website still has copies for sale.

    There is also a paperback version of the film based on the screenplay written by John Minahan. It also has photos (poor) from the film. Available through bookfinder.com

  10. John Molina says:

    Excellent article/review/reminiscence by Mr. Sobcinski. And he is right on target about today’s movies. His only error is that THE DEEP did not have sex.

  11. Two things actually: this is something that has been niggling my mind for some time…Do you think that Nilo in the script was meant to be someone stricken with an illness? Because he sure as hell looks very well, smooth-skinned at the beginning and then as the movie progresses he just looks worse and worse with his hair turning gray…Did Friedkin cut this subplot deliberately to distance himself from Luigi’s character in the original?

    Anyway, here’s a recent read on Sorcerer from someone who attended Chicago festival:

    http://www.fthismovie.net/2013/04/unsung-sorcerer.html

    • Toby says:

      I’ve wondered that about Nilo myself. His health goes to hell over the course of about 45 minutes. If I ever get a chance to talk to WF…

      And thanks for the link. That’s a great write-up. I was about the same age when Sorcerer came out, and he captured by 13-year-old take on it perfectly.

  12. Not really newsworthy, just some tidbit from Amidou, taken from some interview from 2005:

    MT: What is the movie that marked you the most?

    Amidou: Actually, two movies left a lasting impression on me. In ‘La Vie, l’amour, la mort’, seven times I put my head on a real guillotine. This leaves a mark. But the memory of the filming of the “Convoi de la peur” is acute. I was young and carefree, I had refused to have a substitute and I paid for it physically! These have become part of cinema history since one is in the French Cineclub and the other in the American Cineclub. It is crazy what the cinema can do of us!

  13. John Molina says:

    @Jakub, interesting interpretation about Nilo.

    And what was the source of the Amidou interview?

    • Hello John. Yeah, I think it’s an angle very worth considering, and I hope someone will get to ask Friedkin about it. Well, on the second thought, it was Luigi who was stricken with illness in the original but Nilo is mostly modeled after Jo, though obviously still quite removed, but I mentioned that just to clarify that I know what I’m talking about. However, taking into account the deleted scenes his character has been getting somewhat close to the original dynamics of cowardice / redemption but I guess Billy wanted to distance himself from that. I wondered if Mastroianni played, would he get more characterization, or would it be the same?

      Anyway, here’s the source for this interview:

      http://karimarhanem.skyrock.com/2169165443-Amidou-Moroccan-officials-should-stamp-out-artistic-piracy.html

  14. No problem, lately I’ve been working hard on Sorcerer’s wikipedia entry:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorcerer_%28film%29
    and I’ve been cataloging all the interesting materials I’ve stumbled upon; I’ve read some very interesting reviews / articles in Spanish, Italian or French.

    • Toby says:

      You’re doing a great job on the Wikipedia page.

      How about plugging this blog on there?

      • Thanks and yes, I will. BTW, do you have access to the liner notes from Sorcerer 1998 DVD?

      • Toby says:

        I don’t. Stuck with the laserdisc — I thought the sound was better.

      • I need a clarification on this passage:

        Production notes on the 1998 Universal DVD release tell a different story, noting that the casting of Scheider as Scanlon/Dominguez was a “foregone conclusion” and “the ideal (perhaps the only) choice for the role” since Friedkin had directed him previously in ”The French Connection”.

      • Toby says:

        That goes against everything I have ever heard. I think the movie gods made sure Scheider was in it. He is perfect.

  15. I hate comparing Wages of Fear to Sorcerer, using arguments that Sorcerer doesn’t do this and that. Deleted scenes brought Sorcerer too dangerously close to Wages of Fear and I’m glad Billy distanced himself from it. There’s a new article and there’s a remark that in Clouzot’s movie even driving too slow is perilous, well it is in Sorcerer too, in a deleted scene…

    Anyway, here’s the article:

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-wages-and-the-fear-remain-high-in-william-frie,98144/

  16. Toby, one favor I’d like to ask you for, could you upload these 2 sketches to flickr with Creative Commons license? https://sorcerer1977.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/john-box-production-sketches/
    I’d like to feature them on wikipedia and this is pretty much the only way. If you don’t mind of course.

  17. Ron Paquet says:

    Sorcerer is now available on dvd from Spain. Don’t know what version it is. Does anyone know?

  18. Ronnie Sortor says:

    Hey Toby, et. al.
    I’ve had that 16mm SORCERER print for over a year and it’s time to let it go to a new home. I just listed it on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=171254034834

  19. Sal U. Lloyd says:

    Anyone here catch the TMC Festival? Friedkin in person at the Cinefamily screening this Wednesday, but unfortunately tickets are SOLD OUT.

  20. Ron Paquet says:

    Check out the Blu-Ray review at DVD Beaver.

  21. Ric from NJ says:

    Toby, “Sorcerer” is finally going to be playing in NYC!
    http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/sorcerer

  22. Toby, Sorcerer is playing again at the Castro theatre in SF. Currently it is scheduled to show on September 27, 2015

  23. Ron Paquet says:

    Theres an interview with Friedkin in the December 2017 edition of Sight and Sound magazine.

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