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William Friedkin's Restored 'Sorcerer' Getting A Re-Release, Aiming For The Venice Film Festival

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 21, 2013 at 6:01PM

As William Friedkin spent most of last year on the promo circuit for his deliciously raw "Killer Joe," one frequent question he fielded was about the fate of his 1997 flick "Sorcerer." The film has been in mired in some complex legal stuff, but as Friedkin himself told us last year: " I sued Universal and Paramount to determine who owns the rights because they claimed both studios through their legal affairs department claimed they didn't own the rights and I don't know what's happened, I think it has fallen between the cracks. So I'm suing these guys to save the afterlife of the film." And it looks like the tactic worked (though he dropped the suit). Last month, he promised the film would be getting a digital transfer, and now a full blown release is on the way.
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William Friedkin Sorcerer

As William Friedkin spent most of last year on the promo circuit for his deliciously raw "Killer Joe," one frequent question he fielded was about the fate of his 1977 flick "Sorcerer." The film has been in mired in some complex legal stuff, but as Friedkin himself told us last year: " I sued Universal and Paramount to determine who owns the rights because they claimed both studios through their legal affairs department claimed they didn't own the rights and I don't know what's happened, I think it has fallen between the cracks. So I'm suing these guys to save the afterlife of the film." And it looks like the tactic worked (though he dropped the suit). Last month, he promised the film would be getting a digital transfer, and now a full blown release is on the way.

The Wrap reports that "Sorcerer" is getting a new recolored digital print and that the aim is to have this pristine new copy play the Venice Film Festival if the restoration can be done in time. "We’re working off the original negative, which is in pretty good shape, but without changing the original concept we have to bring it back in terms of color saturation, sharpness and all the stuff," he explained to the trade. He also adds the re-release will be "all media" as well.

A remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's near flawless “The Wages of Fear,” the film tells the story of four men given the task of transporting unstable dynamite through the South American jungle. At the time, the movie was considered a failure coming on the heels of the wildly successful "The Exorcist," but over time, it has grown in estimation, with many re-discovering the tense thriller, that features a pretty great score from Tangerine Dream. But aside from a DVD release in the early '90s, the movie has pretty much been MIA outside of rep screenings.

This is all pretty exciting stuff and Friedkin will have a full press release in about a week's time (not coincidentally, his memoir "The Friedkin Connection" drops on April 16th). A chance to see this up on the big screen again crisp and clear is tantalizing, but for those of you holding out for a Criterion release? Sorry, it ain't gonna happen.

This article is related to: Sorcerer, Venice Film Festival, William Friedkin


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