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The Exorcist, Academy Award® winning director William Friedkin’s masterpiece of suspense that haunted, intrigued, and thrilled the world, is coming to Blu-ray™ in a two-disc, must-have high-definition set, available October 5 from Warner Home Video. A true cinema landmark, this theological thriller is one of the top ten box office performers of all time.* The Exorcist went on to win two Academy Awards and became a multi-million dollar franchise.
When the movie was first released in 1973, viewers were blown away. Audience members were frightened out of their wits - and literally out of their seats. Some ran out of the theatre; others got physically ill or couldn’t sleep for weeks. Now with the maximum picture and sound quality that Warner Home Video’s spectacularly restored new Blu-ray™ and DVD versions provide, home viewers may experience the same visceral emotions again in seeing the brilliant effects and hearing the awesome sound of this classic and thrilling tale of good vs. evil. Newly remastered in 1080p from the original camera negative, the Blu-ray includes both the remastered Extended Director’s Cut as well as the remastered theatrical version of the film.
Says Friedkin, “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.” And I now agree with Blatty that this is the best and most complete version.”
The Extended Director’s Cut contains three new documentaries: Raising Hell: Filming the Exorcist, including new revealing set footage produced and photographed by cinematographer Owen Roizman, as well as camera and makeup tests, interviews with Friedkin, actress Linda Blair, author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty and Roizman himself;The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now featuring a tour of the iconic locations where the film was shot, including a visit to the famous “Exorcist steps”; and Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist -- with Friedkin and Blatty discussing the different versions of the film and showing outtakes. The result is a new immersive viewing experience that takes you on the set of the film and offers a unique, up-close perspective of the filmmaking and special effects process that is rarely seen.
The Blu-ray™ edition will be packaged with a personal letter written by Friedkin inside a 40-page Blu-ray Digibook featuring striking photos, cast bios, revealing production notes and more.
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.”
Details about The Exorcist
Says Mr. Friedkin, “When I first read the book, I thought it made a positive statement about religion and humanity and how they are inter-related. I approached the movie a bit differently, from a practical point of view - that of asking more questions than giving answers. But both Bill [Blatty] and I wanted a film that would be so realistic it was impossible notto believe it.”
The Exorcist caused a cultural earthquake that is still felt today, shocking and enthralling audiences, who had never seen anything like it. Directed by Friedkin (Oscar®-winner for The French Connection) and written by William Peter Blatty, the film is based on his best-selling novel which sold nearly 13 million copies domestically and was the #1 book on the New York Times Best Seller List for 57 weeks, 17 of them at #1. The Exorcist won Blatty the Academy Award®for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as winning for Best Sound. The film was also nominated for an additional eight Oscars® including Best Picture.
The film tells the now-famous story of a girl’s demonic possession, and a gripping fight between good and evil. Linda Blair, in a breakout role, plays Regan, a young girl who starts to exhibit strange, arcane behavior. Her mother (Ellen Burstyn, Oscarâ-winner for Best Actress Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) calls upon a priest, Father Karras (Jason Miller) to investigate. But Karras, who has self-doubts about faith, is suddenly confronted with the unimaginable evil of Regan’s possession. When Father Lankester Merrin (Max Von Sydow), a priest with a mysterious past, is called to help, a horrific battle for her soul begins.
Disc 1: Extended Director's Cut (2000 version)
English DTS-HD MA 6.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1 (both Parisian and dubbed in Quebec), Spanish 5.1 (both Castilian and Latin 2.0 stereo)
New 3-part documentary on the movie's production and legacy – for the first time, relive the actual on-set filming of classic scenes via never-before-seen set footage: Raising Hell: Filming The Exorcist, The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now and Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist
Commentary by director William Friedkin
Disc 2: Original theatrical cut (1973 version)
English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French Dolby Digital 1.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 (both Castilian and Latin)
2 commentaries: 1) director William Friedkin, 2) producer/screenwriter William Peter Blatty, plus sound effects tests
Introduction by William Friedkin
Feature-length 1998 documentary The Fear of God: The Making of The Exorcist
Interview gallery covering the topics: the original cut, the final reckoning and stairway to heaven
Original ending and more