November 24

Sorcerer, 1977

Greetings and welcome back to another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are celebrating a film that turned 40 this year (and is currently enjoying a theatrical re-release this very month) -a movie that flopped and was universally panned when it was originally released. But after years of obscurity it has had a resurgence and a re-evaluation, and is now considered a lost classic (even being Stephen King‘s favorite movie!) -with some even saying it could be it’s director’s best work (luckily Blake and Dion never had this problem of having to ‘re-discover’ this to know it was a masterpiece). So this week the boy’s are taking a very close look at the notorious William Friedkin epic, Sorcerer, from 1977.

Sorcerer

A movie that has haunted Dion since childhood, the guys jump right into unpacking this momentous feat of cinema. Blake and Dion dissect the various elements and history that came together to make this classic. They first return to the source material, reading the original 1952 novel Wages of Fear by French author Georges Arnaud. They analyze the 1953 film Wages of Fear by the French auteur Henri-Georges Clouzot, and use both of those versions to compare and contrast William Friedkin‘s retelling, of what has been called by some, the most suspenseful story of all time. They utilize the first hand accounts from their friend, ex-NYPD Homicide Detective turned actor, producer, consultant and friend to director William FriedkinRandy Jurgensen, who also costarred in Sorcerer, to piece together the story behind getting this epic out of the jungle and onto the big screen. They trace the path that visionaries like Friedkin and others ascended to in the 1970s-1980s, only to come crashing down by closing out an era with commercially-termed ‘flops’ (though Dion and Blake do not consider Sorcerer in that category) largely due to ballooning budgets and lofty artistic visions, or because of sheer recklessness- like the death of 3 actors on a John Landis film-set in 1982. And they analyze what kind of impact a little-known German Electronic band named Tangerine Dream, who penned the film’s synth score, had on the next decade of movie soundtracks. So, what Hollywood legend was Sorcerer first written for; who would have starred, had it not been for Friedkin‘s lack of flexibility? What’s the inside joke that Randy Jurgensen told SNMS he has with director William Friedkin (Hint: it comes a line from this movie)?  What were the contributing factors that led to the ultimate commercial failure of Sorcerer at the box office? And maybe most importantly, what is the story behind the film’s title?! Well, make sure you strap yourselves in, pack your Valium and Dramamine, because the boys are taking a nail-biting journey into the jungle and a descent into madness, on an all new and very informative edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS!

Check out these rare and behind on the scenes 8mm footage that was shot on the set of Sorcerer, while on location in New Jersey!

Have a look of at this vintage TV spot for Sorcerer!

Please go have a listen to the excessive interviews that SNMS as done with ex-NYPD Homicide Detective turned actor, producerconsultant and friend to director William FriedkinRandy Jurgensen, about his legendary career as a police officer and then seamless transition to a legendary stint in Hollywood, and some of the biggest movies of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. 

Take a look at this extremely rare William Friedkin Q&A from 2013 about Sorcerer that the boys were able to attend, that they transcribed into a posting, which eventually made news and is subsequently cited extensively by Wikipedia in their entry for Sorcerer

Here’s an article Dion penned in 2014 that was his review of the original novel Wages of Fear by French novelist Georges Arnaud.

Check out the concept art for both of the trucks used in the film, found HERE and HERE!

Also have a look at the various and amazing versions of the film’s POSTER that have been made over the years, found HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE!

And last but far from least, check out everything there is to know about Sorcerer on this website, which is dedicated to the film!

June 17

Dario Argento’s Deep Red, 1975

Buon Giorno dear friends, and welcome back to another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are taking a trip to picturesque Italy to visit a filmmaker near and dear to both their hearts, the maestro Dario Argento. The boys tackle a film they feel is a classic and a quintessential representation of a genre that was reinvigorated within the mediterranean country, by Argento, in the 1970’s. The fellas are going back to film school with this one, covering arguably the director’s most commerically successful and popular film, Profondo Fondo or Deep Red, from 1975.

Deep Red

 

As Argento the auteur is a huge favorite here at SNMS, especially for Blake, he and Dion waste no time getting into the topic of discussion, by setting the stage and first explaining the sub-genre known as ‘giallo‘ and what are the essential elements that classically make up a giallo film. They also lay out a crucial element: what it was like engaging in the Italian cinema experience of the time; how going to the movies back then and specifically that social aspect affected how Italian films of this elk were subsequently written, and even paced.  The boys examine Argento’s career rise to a filmmaker and his Animal Trilogy of films, and review how Deep Red began his seque from ‘who-dun-it’-type stories, to eventually Supernatural and straight Horror vehicles. And how on a larger scale, he singlehandedly revitalized an entire genre within Italian cinema. Dion and Blake also cite American auteurs like John Carpenter and Brian De Palma, who vocally or even subconsciously have been influenced by the Italian maestro. They also discuss the legendary Italian progressive rock band Goblin in detail, as this was the first collaboration between band and filmmaker. So get ready as the boys take you on a trip filled with mystery, intrigue and horror, in another fabulous and informative installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion misspoke when he referenced Michael Mann‘s Manhunter, when he was actually referring to the director’s 1981 film Thief.

EXTRAS!

Check out Blake’s exclusive interview with film critic and Argento lover Alan Jones.

Here is Deep Red, remastered, in all it’s original gorgeous uncut glory, courtesy of YouTube!

Now watch the shorter, exported version of Deep Red, again courtesy of YouTube!

Take a gander at one of the original posters for Deep Red, aka Profondo Rosso, which interestingly bares a very close resemblance to Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1958 classic, Vertigo poster.

Have a look at the original Italian theatrical trailer for Profondo Rosso, aka Deep Red.

And here’s a REAL treat, watch Goblin live on Italian television circa 1975 or 1976, perform the title track to Profondo Rosso!

And to preorder J. Blake’s new book Scored to Death, click here!