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.


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!


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!

February 12

Tombstone, 1993

Welcome back to another exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week’s podcast is a true epic, with the boys breaking new ground and covering their first Western. The choice for their first in the genre is a film near and dear to both Dion Baia and J. Blake‘s hearts, a momentous pick that has become a modern classic, George P. CosmatosTombstone, from 1993.

Tombstone Poster

After Blake relates a recent story about attempting to see the obscure Michael Mann film The Keep at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), the boys lay out their history with Tombstone, and setup the history of the western genre, laying out the evolution of the complexities and sophistication of themes and presentation of these stories within the film industry, through the second half of the 20th Century. Then the boys get onto the winding road that is the back story of this film, laying out the actual history of the Earps and the Cowboy Gang in the 1880’s in the city of Tombstone, and the lead up to this 1993 film being made and the extensive cast this movie boasts. How accurate was this story to the real historical events? Why was the first director Kevin Jarre (who actually penned the script) fired mere days into production? Did new director George Cosmatos actually oversee the production as credited or did one of the lead actors actually secretly direct the picture? Who was originally cast as Doc Holliday, only to be denied by the film’s distributor because of past controversy? How did the film’s rival production, Kevin Costner‘s Wyatt Earp actually help and hurt Tombstone‘s fate? Well grab your dusters, Winchester Repeaters and Colt Peacemakers, because all these convoluted stories will be explained and put into context in this all new, massive and epic installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!


Have a look at the making-of featurette!

Check out the original 1993 theatrical teaser trailer for the film.

Take a look at some of the deleted scenes that were restored in the 2002 Director’s Cut, found here, here, here and here!

Who really killed Johnny Ringo? Take a look a some historians giving their theories.

Discussed in the podcast, here is J. Blake’s blog entry celebrating the boy’s favorite in Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood‘s Spaghetti Western Trilogy, For a Few Dollar’s More!


December 18

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: Randy Jurgensen Part 2From Homicide to Hollywood

SNMS Side CastWelcome back to another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie SleepoversSide-Cast. We present Part 2 of our exclusive interview with retired NYPD Homicide Detective turned actor, consultant, writer and producer Randy Jurgensen. In this episode, we segue into Randy’s fascinating career in Hollywood and his body of work in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. We go in-depth about the first film he was drafted to be an advisor and actor for, The French Connection, and how he prepped the actors to be New York City cops (back when background prep was rare). We also discuss his friendship with director William Friedkin, as well as the four plus films they would collaborate together on. He also explains his role as of one the stunt drivers in one of the greatest car chases of allsorcererrandy time. He then goes into great detail about becoming a producer, and fighting the Screen Actor’s Guild for Larry Cohen‘s God Told Me To ; ‘stealing’ filming locations in New York City for Maniac and Viligante ; surviving the jungle and the Federales in Central America while filming Friedkin’s Sorcerer ; to fighting city hall (literally) in a small Maine town to get Stephen King‘s Thinner completed. As astounding as it is that a retired Detective was able transition into a life in Hollywood, what’s more incredible is that legends like Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Roy Scheider were vying to hang out with him, because he was the ‘real’ deal, and moreover was the lead Detective on a very cruising_01publicized case at the time involving probably the most notorious cop killing in New York City’s history! Again, it’s a case where truth is stranger (and more entertaining), than fiction! So come listen to an absolutely fascinating and exclusive installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! (above picture Randy and Roy Scheider in Sorcerer, 1977; left picture is Randy in the NYC Coroner’s Office in Cruising, 1980)


The very iconic photo of the finale of The French Connection– Randy can be seen over Gene Hackman‘s right shoulder.

Here, here, here and here are behind the scenes shots of Randy on set on The Godfather, during the scene where Sonny is assassinated.

Check out Randy in The Godfather poster, up in the top right corner.

Here’s Randy at the end of Maniac, with real life partner Jimmy Aurichio!

Have a look at another picture from Cruising, with Randy center, interrogating Al Pacino, with Paul Sorvino standing against the wall.

Here’s another from Cruising, this time with a very young Ed O’Neill.

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October 8

5 Rentals for $5 – October Horror Film Recommendations

Maniac 1980
Courtesy of Mondo, poster by Ken Taylor

October is upon us and along with Autumn arriving, ’tis the season for scary movies! As a companion-piece to J. Blake & Dion‘s latest Side Cast in which they recommend 10 horror movies that they feel have either fallen through the cracks or have plain been forgotten, the lads have also put together another list of 10 films they wholeheartedly recommend, along with the podcast picks which can be found at The Podwits mother site.




But before we get to the 10 films the boys urge you to seek out, here is a round-up of the 10 recommended in the Side Cast Podcast: Continue reading