In 1977, hot off major success with The French Connection and The Exorcist, William Friedkin set out to make a big-budget adaptation of the French novel Le Salaire de la peur. The film, Sorcerer, told the story of four men who could not return to their own places of origin for one reason or another. Each finds themselves in a back-water town in South America where an oil company is hiring courageous truck drivers to haul Nitroglycerin across a 200-mile stretch of treacherous terrain. Starring a Post-Jaws Roy Scheider, Freidkin believed Sorcerer would be his legacy as a director. Sadly, the film never saw much success and fell into obscurity; soon taking its place in the ranks as a cult classic in years to come.
Now, nearly 40 years after it’s initial release, Sorcerer has been acquired by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in order to be restored and remastered for a Blu-Ray release. Under Freidkin’s supervision, and with the help of friend/colorist Bryan McMahan, the film’s original 35mm negatives have undergone a 4K film resolution scan. Friedkin has promised the restoration has given the film the look of one that has just recently been made.
“None of the essentials – the clothes, the hair – are dated in any way. It looks the way it looked to me when I looked through the lens of the camera.”
Ned Price, the Chief Perservation Officer of Warner Bros. Technical Operations, oversees most restoration projects for the studio and was stunned by the quality of the negatives after their 4K restoration.
“I was amazed at the brilliance of the original photography. Up to this point, I had only seen poor quality 35mm theatrical prints made from inferior subtitled dupe negatives. Working from the 4K scan allowed us to free up all the information contained in the original negatives.”
Along with this newly restored and brilliant picture quality will be a complete restoration of the film’s 4-track audio masters, and the haunting, debut film-score by Tangerine Dream. It is promised to be of good condition and offering a full dynamic range, allowing the audience to finally experience the true visual and aural impact of Fredkin’s film.
Sorcerer will be released on Blu-Ray on April 22, 2014 along with a 40-page Blu-Ray book including beautiful images from the film itself, as well as excerpts from the book The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir.