TRANSFER FROM A BROADCAST MASTER
eg001 | New York, NY USA | 03/30/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"If you look at all the other reviews, you'll rarely see anything less than five stars and the film deserves it. "SORCERER" falls into that category sometimes referred to as an "undiscovered gem". My reason for giving this DVD one star is technical. Rather than creating a new master from film elements, this DVD was created from an existing full-screen SMPTE television broadcast master. As a result, you miss all of screen left, all of screen right, and a portion of both north and south. "SORCERER" is one of my all-time favorite action films and I can only hope that Friedkin and company release the original, theatrical wide-screen version of this thriller. I am so disappointed by the technical failings of this DVD that I won't buy it unless/until it's re-released in the theatrical format."
A stylish, intimate remake of a French Classic
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 12/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"William Friedkin (The French Connection) brings us exotic locations and gripping story in Sorcerer, a remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1953 thriller Wages of Fear.The first hour of this movie seems to be comprised of random events involving four individuals that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The only commonality is that they are all men of dubious character. Probably the most recognizable actor in this film is Roy Schieder, who plays a low level New York gangster participate in a robbery that goes bad, and forces him to flee the country due to the fact he managed to step on some pretty well connected toes. The second man, a French businessman, escapes from the threat of prosecution due to some shady business dealings. The third man, a Middle Eastern terrorist flees his captors after being caught participating in a bombing, and the fourth man is a shady assassin type apparently on the run from repercussion from his last hit.The key is all four men end up in a South American rat-infested stink hole of a town called Vera Cruz. After awhile, they find their sanctuary has become more of a prison and all begin a desperate search for a way out, but that involves money, a commodity that's in short supply, with the only work available in the area is provided by an oil company that runs a well and is building a pipeline for the bubbling crude. Dangerous work, and the pay is so low that it would take years to earn enough to leave. Salvation for the men comes in a catastrophic disaster, an explosion damaging the well and causing the oil to burn.The only way to close the well proper for repairs is to blow it up, and the only explosives available are 200 miles away. Turns out the explosives, sticks of nitro, haven't been tended very well, and, in turn, are highly unstable. The company decides to hire four men to drive two trucks to carry the dangerous materials through 200 miles of dangerous jungle, including prehistoric rope and wood bridges, treacherous mountain passes, deadly bandits and swampy roads laden with fallen trees. The suicide mission draws the four men, as the money would allow them to escape the oppressive town. The most intense scenes for me involved the men trying to traverse a rickety, rotting wooden rope suspension bridge over a raging river during a heavy rainstorm. There were times when the truck on the bridge was at such an angle, I thought it would flip right off. And all the actors performed most all their own stunts, adding to the realism of the movie. Do they make it? See the movie and find out. I especially liked the very end. A very nice touch that reminded me of an ending of a certain Alfred Hitchcock movie. Which one? I won't say, as it would give it away.The movie runs just under two hours, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Friedkin and the actors do a wonderful job in developing tensions between the characters and the environment and the between the characters themselves. The pacing is a bit slow, but it's deliberate, cranking the suspense up, notch by grueling notch. There are sparse special features, including pretty thorough productions notes and a trailer. If you enjoy thrilling adventure, you will most likely like this movie. I would have happily given this movie five stars but it is only available in the full screen format. Something I didn't understand is the title for the movie. I wasn't able to figure out what it had to do with the movie....Cookieman108"
Great movie, so-so DVD
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 03/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"William Friedkin's remake of "The Wages of Fear" brought a more contemporary, edgy slant to a classic French film. The scale is bigger but the plot remains the same; Roy Scheider plays Jackie Scanlan a member of a crew who accepts what appears to be a suicidal mission; transport nitroglycerin across the treacherous landscape of South America to put out a massive oil fire. All four members of the driving crew have shady pasts making this an ideal chance to escape from the events haunting them at home.
Friedkin's vision and the shooting ran out of control contributing to the unforgettable atmosphere of tension that lingers in the finished film. During shooting Friedkin routinely fired crew members forcing the production company to fly them out of the remote location jungle in the Dominican Republic adding to the film's budget. The replacement members had to be flown in as well. Tensions ran high and tempers flared due to illness, production screw ups and the location which, ironically, created a sense of claustrophobia and isolation. While many prefer the original classic French film, Friedkin's remake creates its own unique signature with the outrageous stunts and dangerous conditions that dogged the crew at every turn.
Don't be deceived by the release date of this DVD. It's exactly the same nonanamorphic pan and scan version released in 1998 with minimal extras. While the release wasn't bad in the infancy of DVD, it needs to be remastered in anamorphic widescreen (this is in full screen meaning it fills a square TV screen the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio is a bit more rectangular and, as a result, about 1/3 of the screen area is chopped off). The source video used for this looks fair but there's lots of analog blemishes (dirt, etc.) and the resolution isn't much better than a high quality videotape.
It could be much improved and "Sorcerer" misses much of its magic due to the cropped presentation and a lack of a commentary track from Friedkin and/or a retrospective featurette with Scheider. An ambitious follow up to Friedkin's "The Exorcist", "Sorcerer" met with mixed critical reaction and an indifferent public reaction (it was made for $22 million almost double its original budget and grossed only $6 millin in the US); that's too bad as this is an exciting and taunt thriller that deserves better.
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Sound, "Sorcerer" remains a taunt, flawed classic that sound be seen. It stands apart from its source film and on its own. While I love "The Wages of Fear", Friedkin's film captured my imagination when I first saw it in theaters. While this DVD doesn't quite do justice to the film, viewers will get a sense of what Friedkin was trying to accomplish."
THE REAL INFORMATION OF THE ASPECT RATIO !
Lundon Boyd | Wasilla, Alaska | 11/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this wonderful movie and when i put it in, you get a message saying the movie is in a PAN & SCAN format. It is not shown in its orginal aspect ration which 1:66 (You can look that up on IMDB) So all in all, Universal needs to re-release this wonderful movie on dvd with some bells and wistles but then again this is just one guy's opinion. Thank You for reading."