Written by / 2/03/2022 / No comments / , , , , , , , ,

WILLIAM FRIEDKIN'S UNDERRATED THIRD MASTERPIECE 'SORCERER'

Roy Scheider in SORCERER Year: 1977 Rating: ****1/2

In THE EXORCIST, director William Friedkin literally brought us to the gates of Hell, making him the perfect director for SORCERER... only here taking us deep inside a jungle purgatory where four flawed and extremely hopeless characters from different parts of the world... with nowhere else to go and not a dime to get there, even if there was a possible way out... 

A kind of death sentence where the inhabitants are unlucky enough to still be around... A living for dying jungle village that's no cliche and isn't symbolic or artsy: looking like a gritty hybrid of sadistic voyeurism and third world documentary b-roll... 

Bruno Cremer, Roy Scheider, Francisco Rabal, Amidou, Peter Capell in SORCERER

Before this, it takes twenty minutes, showing individual reasons for each of the four men, and how they, from France to Israel to New York City, wound up where the film spends a fair amount of time before snaking along a formidable jungle terrain with two trucks transporting gallons of nitroglycerin to stop an oil fire...

An edgy suicide mission giving each driver enough cash to possibly acquire freedom while scenes with the contained fire... being dealt with by an American played by BADLANDS actor Ramon Bieri... is an amazing visual monstrosity shown mostly by areal shots with the surrounding jungle landscape, a hybrid of fierce red and deep green colors, and a roving helicopter, that would only be equalled a few years later in Francis Ford Coppola's APOCALYPSE NOW...

Roy Scheider and Bruno Cremer in SORCERER

The most intense scenes also become the only slight drawback. When SORCERER, named after one of the two old trucks, turns from an edgy, claustrophobic, contained, pot-boiling Neo Noir into a slowburn, suspenseful mobile adventure, a bit too much time's spent on particular obstacles, making the truly effective moments occur before the main plot gets underway...

Perhaps because of the film's initial clunk in the 1977 box office, Friedkin kicked himself for not suffering the demands of the first choice in the main role, Steve McQueen, to be nabbed from his shaggy, overweight, pot smoking, beer guzzling, motorbike riding retirement post TOWERING INFERNO: The difficult icon's "Pay to Play" million-dollar's up front stipulation was backed by something Friedkin just couldn't say Yes to – Steve's wife and GETAWAY co-starlet, Ali McGraw, serving as the film's co-producer or worse yet, an acting part... 

Bruno Cremer and Amidou in SORCERER

But Roy Scheider was perfectly-suited, being no stranger to going up against immense odds and being put through the ringer, from one end of the proverbial wood-cutter to the other, fresh from a game-changing role in the blockbuster horror, JAWS, wherein, as it was being cast, he had a fan in Steven Spielberg from his role in Friedkin's Oscar Winning crime flick, THE FRECH CONNECTION, where he played both second and third banana...

Number two after Gene Hackman's lead, and overall third following charming heavy Alexandro Rey (who was actually cast accidentally over the fourth driver in this film). The way Scheider can both shine and blend into the background works for SORCERER since it's far from being a star-driven mainstream vehicle...

From William Friedkin's SORCERER

Based on the French novel THE WAGES OF FEAR and its 1953 adaptation, this is an ensemble concerning the four drivers... one who's actually a stubborn, nefarious passenger, getting a free ride... It's not the American lead that's the most sympathetic or, during the four initial prologues, the most fleshed-out compared to French actor Bruno Cremer as Victor Manzon, his name changed to Serrano...

During the entire film, moved forward by imagery over dialogue, his expressions help guide the picture beyond Scheider's Jackie Scanlon aka Juan Dominguez once he's moved to South America: he's a hardened yet ambiguous, quiet and brooding former  member of "The Doheny Gang" in New York, wherein he and three thugs had balls and gall (and stupidity) enough to rob a Catholic Church's lucrative bingo game (during a wedding with actor Frank Pesche as an abusive husband, standing next to a bruised-up, blushing bride) and then shooting a priest, whose brother happens to be a mobster that wants revenge on the shattered heist's sole survivor...

From William Friedkin's SORCERER

Also filling a truck seats is the most sturdy, ready-go player in Amidou as Kassem/Martinez, an Arab terrorist who bombed Jerusalem and, with his own intense, faithful, hard-working countenance highlighted by large droopy yet intense eyes, he too is an otherwise despicable person that becomes a sort of grungy anti-hero to root for, or at least, feel for... 

Perhaps it's not just irony the Frenchman and Arab are in the truck bearing the film's title as both leave the most lasting impression throughout, baring the most humanity. Still though, Scheider is the leader, and the toughest, most determined overall...

Bruno Cremer in SORCERER

The second act horrifically takes place in the purgatory work camp with one dilapidated, ramshackle bar surrounded by shabby living quarters in the midst of a muddy, murky one-pig town (that's beyond "scum and villainy") under a scolding sun that leaves no one, not even the payed-off lawman, unscathed...

As Friedkin takes us both on a journey and deep inside a terrorizing, seemingly doomed, damned odyssey, providing a sort of ominous, New Wave vibe driven by a Tangerine Dream synthesized score in a meticulous groove wherein the few moments of genuine camaraderie really, actually mean something...

Roy Scheider and  Francisco Rabal in SORCERER

Even the cutthroat villain, who, after igniting the entire movie's first scene, liken to the main villain's henchman in FRENCH CONNECTION, and later, taking out who was supposed to be the fourth driven...

In a vehicle where the location is its very own antagonist, becomes an equal victim of dire circumstance like the others: with reverberating laughter After all, when in Hell, do as the damned, since everyone there is...

Bruno Cremer in SORCERER

Meanwhile, William Friedkin, in his first theatrical failure that's gained a large cult following (one of Quentin Tarantino's many "favorites"), captures an entire sense of darkness with shards of light exposing an otherwise beautiful geographical location with suspense and pure, realistic horror exceeding even those two classics that he's best known... 

And that his legacy still hinges to: While Orson Welles was only really praised for CITIZEN KANE, you can say — SORCERER is Friedkins's TOUCH OF EVIL or a modern comparison, JACKIE BROWN. 

Bruno Cremer in SORCERER
Roy Scheider and Bruno Cremer in SORCERER
The Original French Movie title as a tagline for SORCERER, which is MUCH Better
Roy Schieder and Randy Jurgenson in SORCERER
Bruno Cremer in SORCERER
Roy Scheider as Jackie Scanlon in SORCERER
Roy Scheider as Jackie Scanlon in SORCERER
Bruno Cremer in SORCERER
Bruno Cremer in SORCERER
From SORCERER
From SORCERER
From SORCERER
Roy Schieder and Randy Jurgenson in SORCERER
Roy Scheider  and Randy Jurgensen in SORCERER
 Bruno Cremer in SORCERER
Roy Scheider in SORCERER

Share This Post :
Tags : , , , , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

All Time Popular

Featured Post

NICK NOLTE TAKES EDDIE MURPHY FOR WALTER HILL'S '48 HRS.'

Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 HRS Year: 1982 Rating: ****1/2 Following HARD TIMES , THE DRIVER , THE WARRIORS, THE LONG RIDERS and SOUTH...

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

RIP ACTOR KEN HUTCHISON

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE:"If you must think, for God's sake, think clearly." Richard Attenborough, The Great Escape

FILM NOIR & NEO NOIR CRIME

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

1)OTLEY 2)HELL IS A CITY 3)ROBBERY 4)THE FEARMAKERS 5)CANYON PASSAGE 6)VIOLENT SATURDAY 7)HOT CARS 8)JUNGLE STREET 9)THE CROWDED SKY 10)THE ROARING TWENTIES 11) ANATOMY OF A MURDER 12)SHARKS' TREASURE 13)SWEENEY TWO 14)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 15)HARDCORE 16)THE BREAK 17)WHITE HEAT 18)AL CAPONE 19)HIDDEN FEAR 20)FALLEN ANGEL 21)HOUSE OF STRANGERS 22)THE ASPHALT JUNGLE 23)ASH WEDNESDAY 24)THE SYSTEM 25)AIR PATROL 26)THE STONE KILLER 27)EASY LIVING 28)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 29)FRENZY 30)THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)STANLEY BAKER 4)MARLON BRANDO 5)CHARLES BRONSON1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)SUE LYON 3)GENE TIERNEY 4)MERRY ANDERS 5)FAYE DUNAWAY DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)VAL GUEST 4)STANLEY KUBRICK 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)ORSON WELLES 7)JOHN GUILLERMAN 8)JOHN LANDIS 9)JOHN CARPENTER 10)MICHAEL WINNER

BRITISH NEW WAVE CINEMA

RARITIES AND EXPLOITATION

HAMMER HORROR & THRILLER

Popular This Month

CHARLES BRONSON CINEMA

CINEMA OF DANA ANDREWS

WESTERN GENRE REVIEWS

PEAKING INTO THE SIXTIES

KICKING IN THE EIGHTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

REVVING THE SEVENTIES

FOR HORROR MOVIE REVIEWS

Most Popular Last Year

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE