Saw this at a rockpile of a theatre built to
unseat the Liberty
as our Showplace of choice. Being pure strip-down to cinderblocks and cheapest
chintz plus seating, the "College Park Cinema" was 70's agnate to
jungle rot of Sorcerer, truly a place where movies went to die. And still we
came, generally for likes of Billy Jack in tenth run, or four-wall regional
fluff like Adventures Of The Wilderness Family or Preacherman Meets
Widder Woman. Then there was Sorcerer, an in-out quick smeller that larger bergs
wrote off as a flop. I went out of love for theme of desperate men hauling
nitro, Sorcerer reminding me less of France's The Wages Of Fear than Warners'
Blowing Wild, where Gary Cooper and Ward Bond drove soup and dodged
banditos. For my getting-in-free time (courtesy Brick Davis as manager), Sorcererwas
swell and the acme till then (and since) of nitro nail-biters. A group of us
watched before convening to concessions storage for all-night card play and
cuffo eats. So yes, fun could be had at the College Park.
Now comes Sorcerer on Blu-Ray, a vivid fix
supervised by William Friedkin, who put life's blood to his '77 project, only
to see it mishandled since. Tangled rights were an issue, even as fans clamored
for fit revival. Sorcerer is cold-as-ice storytelling, none of characters
likeable, that largely a point of 70's flipping the bird at movies as they'd
been. More bracing then than now? Could be, but the thing still clicks for me,
especially when in a mood for pitiless pics. Took effort in '77 keeping the
ensemble straight, what with Roy Scheider the only familiar face among foreign
guys new to me. That too, of course, was aspect of get-used-to-it upturn of
convention once mavericks like Friedkin got keys to kingdom. He'slately out
with memoirs, by the way. We think of that filmmaking generation as forever
young, but Friedkin will be seventy-nine this year. The man can rest on laurels
of The French Connection, Sorcerer, and To Live and Die In L.A., if not ones I've yet to see. Are there others of his as good? (and don't say The Exorcist
--- that's where I came out of the Capri in Charlotte and walked along a mile-long line saying "Turn back," "Don't go in,"
"It's a stinker." Remarkable the childish things you do even as late
as age 20).