Warner Home Video has announced The Exorcist for release on October 5, in a two-disc Digibook edition, packaged with a personal letter written by director William Friedkin inside a 40-page booklet. Both the extended director's cut and the theatrical version of this 1973 horror masterpiece will be included, remastered from the original camera negative. Three new documentaries, produced by acclaimed documentarian Laurent Bouzereau, are also included exclusively in the Blu-ray edition.
Regarding the two versions, director William Friedkin says, "After my final cut of the original The Exorcist, I took out 12 more minutes before we actually released it in theatres. Years later, Bill Blatty asked if I'd consider reviewing some of that rejected footage (which he always felt should have remained) with an eye towards putting it into a new version. Bill gave me the best piece of material I've ever received and because of that and because the film had such a major reputation over some 25 years, I agreed to revisit all these scenes. When I saw them, I came to realize that Bill was, in fact, right. With technical advances, scenes that didn't work then could now be fixed with CGI and there were others that I thought strengthened the spiritual aspect of the film. Warner agreed and released a whole new theatrical print in 2000 which we called The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen. And I now agree with Blatty that this is the best and most complete version."
Said Jeff Baker, WHV Executive VP & General Manager, Theatrical Catalog, "Generally speaking, sourcing relevant and provocative film assets for older films (30 years and older), is difficult, and more often than not, proves to be unsuccessful. The never before seen behind the camera treasure trove of material that consumers will see in The Exorcist Blu-ray release is one of the great finds in modern day home entertainment history. Laurent Bouzereau, an acclaimed documentarian, has blended this archival rare footage with updated present day interviews to create a masterpiece that will be treasured and studied for decades to come."
Disc contents are as follows:
Disc 1: - Extended Director's Cut (2000) plus Special Features
Commentary by William Friedkin
Raising Hell: Filming the Exorcist – set footage produced and photographed by Owen Roizman, camera and makeup tests, and interviews with director William Friedkin, actress Linda Blair, author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty and
Owen Roizman (new; Blu-ray exclusive)
The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now – Featuring a tour of the iconic locations where the film was shot (new; Blu-ray exclusive)
Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist – with director William Friedkin and author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty discussing the different versions of the film and featuring outtakes from the film (new; Blu-ray exclusive)
Trailers, TV spots & radio spots from the film's 2000 release
Disc 2 - Theatrical Cut (1973) plus Special Features
Introduction by William Friedkin
William Peter Blatty with Special Sound Effects Tests
The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist [1998 BBC documentary]
Additional interviews with William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty:
I was a teenager who had the experience of getting the shit sacred out of me one very foggy evening when it first came out.
What added to the experience that night was the fact that the theater was next to a creepy old 17th century graveyard and we were all tripping on acid before we even entered the theater. Needless to say, we all made sure we walked past the old gothic heardstones and did alright until until one of the guys Spook, freaked out causing the rest of us to piss our pants laughing. Yep, it was quite the life changing experience, especially for Spook.
First day buy for me and the extended version is my favourite
Friedkin's comments are akin to Coppola saying "The Godfather Part III is, now that I have reconsidered it, the best of the Godfathers and makes me wish I had made Parts I & II the same way..." Talk about delusional. "The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen" was slack, filled with material that deserved to be on the cutting room floor, and re-worked the ending in a way that completely destroyed the poignancy of the final shot. I can't think of any director, other than perhaps Tony Scott with his recut of "Revenge", who has so ruined his original film as Friedkin has done with his director's cut of The Exorcist. Thanks goodness they are also releasing a remastered version of the theatrical cut, and not just slapping an old transfer on the disc as a footnote.
Friedkin's a tool if he thinks "The version you've never seen" is better than original.
And is it just a coincidence that Friedkin, Coppola, Lucas etc. haven't made anything that remotely touches the quality of work they did in the Seventies in recent years? They all seem to have lost the plot!
I'm not a big fan of Digibooks but still a no brainer and definite must buy! Let's hope we get a new interview with Linda Blair and Laurent Bouzereau does great "making of" features (JAWS, THE WARRIORS, BLACK RAIN, ETC...)
PS I pray Friedkin doesn't butcher the restoration like he did with The French Connection.
The extended cut wasn't named director's cut for some good reason: it had more to do with William Peter Blatty's requests as it adds more exposition dialogue or scenes that were cut because they were ineffective on screen. As a screenwriter and owner of the rights to the franchise, Blatty got more leverage.
Anyway, I'm thankful that they kept the theatrical version.
You are forgetting what George Lucas did to the original Star Wars trilogy. I think this trumps anything Tony Scott or any other director (save for what Spielberg did to ET) did to any film some years after the original was released.
First, @kotsedriver Don't you mean, "About Friedkin time"? With the release of Ex 1.0 on BD, we can all finally experience the moment we've awaited for years and years: Linda Blair's pea soup in HD!!!
But seriously folks, the contents of this 2-disc BD set are fantastic. For all those afraid of the transfer being "Friedkin-ized", it won't happen. For one thing, the 2 films (French Conn 1.0 and Exorcist 1.0) were shot in an entirely different manner - the color palettes alone are not similar at all. This transfer will simply be an HD version of the "Version You've Never Seen Before" release.
People always find something to complain about. This was exactly what everyone was wishing for: both cuts in one package. I agree that the effects and ending of TVYNSB lessen the impact of the story, but I enjoyed the extra scenes of Regan's medical experiments and a look at the early 1970's phych/medical world. I also like the digibook package as it makes these excellent films stand out in my collection. They look important.
audioquest--it is what everyone was wishing for IF the color timing has not been radically changed.
if it has then I'll stick with my dvd thank you very much.
no revisionist crap for me.
again, we don't know one way or the other yet, so I'm quite content to wait for an answer to this question before I decide if Warner has hit a home run or not.
It is a very big issue, as Freakman has made clear that he very much wants to change the color timing of all his previous films to match the timing of John Huston's "Moby Dick"
Day one hell yeah! Don't care much about "the version you've never seen" but the original scares me more and more for each view since the first time I saw it 'bout 25 years ago... And yeah; we don't wanna see another French Connection atrocity transfer. My eyes still bleed from that one...
I have heard that he will be messing with the colour timing again because apparently he stated that he would do it with The Exorcist because (dont laugh) he was so pleased with the results on The French Connection
i wonder if they will also release the remaining 4 exorcist movies. i actually enjoy those as well regardless of how "bad" people think they are. i am always entertained.
day one on this one. don't mind the digibook too much, but i do prefer the original BD packages. i like both versions, but like most i prefer the original theatrical. the complete dvd set put out a few years ago was awesome and i remember paying like 25 bucks for it at some point... anyway... i wants it!
I can't understand several contentions in several posts here. For one, I believe that the director and witer who created the film have the best perspective on their creation. When I first saw the "version you've never seen" I realized that Blatty was right--- as did the director of the film, Friedkin. Also, there is no question that "The Exorcist" is a film that those raised Roman Catholic can relate to in ways that the lack of that religious background can't.... nothing wrong here, we're just raised to think differently. Much of the added-back material reflects this position.
So for me, as well as for the film's creators, the "version...seen" is the choice. We can be glad that both versions will be present on this Blu Ray release, as well as much that will be fascinating to those who revel in the process of motion picture making.
Incidentally, I have never understood the anti-digibook complaints. I think my copies of "North by Northwest," "Dr. Zhivago" and others are enhanced by the fine printed material that comes with the releases. To each his own, I guess.
Boy, do some of you whine like children. Were getting exactly what we asked for. Both cuts, 1080p, loads of old and new extras. All I read is moaning about their prefered cut or about the color timing. Even after the fantastic To Live and Die in LA transfer, it was still bitch and moaning. This release is fantastic news and has the involvment of both the director and the DP. Sounds to me like the image will be fine. WB has a pretty good history with these things. But nope! Whine whine whine till it's in your hands and you aprove it so much that you'll comment online about it and still make a backhand comment towards Friedkin in the process. The Internet scumm never fails to amaze me.
Jimmy Smith, it isn't that Warner doesn't get seamless branching it is that they are still sticking to VC1 and it is more difficult to manage seamless branching on VC1 titles, not impossible of course, just more difficult. On top of that some differing versions of a film just don't work for seamless branching, the more complex the branchings the less likely it is to be a good idea to use this method. Using it can tax bandwidth resources on some titles and in the end it is just much more worth it to simply include two separate cuts of a film. This is why we will likely never see the LOTR films in a version using seamless branching. I don't know if it would work well for The Exorcist if WB used AVC, but they don't so it is moot.
Disagree with meehan's earlier comment that Friedkin (as well as Spielberg) are no longer making movies as good as they did in the past. Friedkin's BUG is a brilliant, intense film with amazing performances, and IMO Speilberg's MUNICH is his best film.
... and I hope the commentaries and supplements aren't using 192kbit/sec Dolby Digital. I like that more and more blurays are using (at least) 256kbit/sec DTS 2.0, which I find much easier to understand. Even 224kbit/sec Dolby Digital tracks would be preferred; they're significantly less lispy and boomy, and don't require cranking the volume just to be intelligible.
I'm buying this on Blu for sure, regardless of digibook, alterations or whatever. Just gimme the theatrical cut with lossless audio and I'll be a real happy camper. I've been stuck with "The Version I Didn't Like" for too long.
Can't say this is the right place to be bitchin' about George Lucas, but I understand that people want their Star Wars. I also want my Indiana Jones.
Anyway, I'm gonna be pre-ordering this with no question. And Warner can keep on comin' with the digibooks for the classics. I hope they do release Dial M for Murder. And I can't wait for a confirmation on details for The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Hopefully their dates are official. And maybe they'll get digibooks too.
I agree with Sith and Inspector Toschi, how come everyone moans moans moans about every aspect of a release before it comes out, then half dont buy stuff (a la Gladiator) and moan about how bad it is without ever seeing it themselves.
I hope the next big announcement for a major/classic film is "we wont bother releasing said title as we cant be arsed with all the bitch ass moaners"
I like the cover art too, the vhs i used to walk past and look away from about 25 years ago had that cover too. Day 1 for me.
Haven't seen this since it first came out (the original). Wasn't super-wild about it then (the people I went with got more out of it than I did), but should be nice to revisit after all this time. May wait for a cheaper non-digibook version though. (Wonder how tubular bells sound in lossless audio...)
why two discs for two versions? Why not one disc and use the branching technology? That way major film geeks can compare the two versions on the fly. I hate seeing technology go backward, like today if they were releasing an ultimate "Close Encounters..." they'd probably use three discs instead of one
I'm not interested in the newer cut, myself, but kudos to Friedkin and Warners for including both versions in a single release; that's the way to do it (*cough*_Amadeus_*cough*) and I will be happily buying on release day.
Nice to finally see this is coming out. Should be a wonderful package and presentation with all the extras, both versions and the blu-ray book. I think I'll risk preordering it, despite Friedkin's deficient (to put it nicely) color timing and picture quality on The French Connection.