Sorcerer is Oscar-winner William Friedkin’s most visually stunning film, a nerve-wracking, sweat-inducing thriller following a gang of small-time crooks who sign on to drive a cargo of nitroglycerine through perilous terrain in a sweltering South American jungle. This riveting adaptation of the novel by Georges Arnaud, which also inspired Henri-Georges Clouzot’s French suspense classic The Wages of Fear (1953), is also director Friedkin’s favorite of all his films (no small compliment, given that his stellar filmography also includes such classics as The Exorcist and The French Connection), mainly because it came closer than any other to his original vision. Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, and Amidou play four hard-luck losers who, for various reasons, cannot return to their own countries. They end up in a dismal South American town where an American oil company is seeking out courageous (i.e. foolish) drivers willing to haul nitroglycerin over 200 miles of treacherous terrain. The four stateless men have nothing to lose – and, besides, they’ll be paid $10,000 apiece, and be granted legal citizenship, if they survive. And that’s a BIG “if.” Originally conceived as a low-budget film, as Friedkin expanded his vision to include nail-biting sequences in which the trucks bounce across a rickety rope bridge and navigate treacherous mountain roads, location disasters ensued and the budget rose dramatically (much to the dismay of Paramount and Universal, who co-produced the film). Initially a critical and commercial failure, partly because of overwhelming competition from Star Wars (1977), and partly because of a curiously misleading title, Sorcerer has enjoyed a critical renaissance in recent years. Now hailed as one of the unsung masterpieces of the ’70s, the film has been praised for its economical storytelling, lavish production values and Friedkin’s expert manipulation of the themes of man vs. nature, fate and human responsibility. Featuring a pulsating music score by German electronic band Tangerine Dream, Sorcerer returns to the big screen in a new digital restoration that premiered to great acclaim at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.
Brand New Digital Restoration!