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THE EXORCIST

CELEBRATES 40THANNIVERSARY OCTOBER 8

Blu-ray™ Includes the Extended Director’s Cut, Theatrical Version
with New Special Features and Premiums

Burbank, Calif. June 20, 2013 – When The Exorcist was first released in 1973, viewers were frightened out of their wits - and literally out of their seats. Now Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Academy Award® winning director William Friedkin’s suspense masterpiece that haunted and intrigued the world, with a new Blu-ray release featuring the Extended Director’s Cut and Theatrical Version with new special features and premiums ($49.99 SRP). Available October 8, just ahead of Halloween, this 40th Anniversary Edition will include two new featurettes: “Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist” and “Talk of the Devil,” as well as an excerpt from Friedkin’s book The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir.



A true cinema landmark, the theological thriller is one of the top ten box-office performers of all time.* The Exorcist took 10 Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture, and won two Oscars®[ii], for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as winning for Best Sound. Subsequently, the film went on to become a multi-million dollar franchise. Directed by Friedkin (Oscar®-winner for The French Connection - Directing 1971) 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.



Regarding the Extended Director’s Cut, Friedkin says, “After my initial cut, I took out 12 more minutes before we released it in theatres. Years later, Bill Blatty asked if I’d review some of that rejected footage (which he always felt should have remained) with an eye towards putting it back in a new version. In so doing I believe we strengthened the spiritual aspect of the film.”



Celebrated for his directorial role in this seminal film, Friedkin is still very much in the limelight. His new book, The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir, recently published by HarperCollins, extensively discusses the background and casting of The Exorcist. The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films will honor Friedkin this month with their Lifetime Achievement Award for his continually influential work in genre entertainment at this year’s Saturn Awards. In August, Friedkin will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, where he will present the restored version of Warner Bros.’ Sorcerer. And Friedkin and author Blatty will attend a special 40th Anniversary screening of their film at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. on October 30. The film will also have an exclusive theatrical engagement October 31 through November 7th at the AMC Georgetown.



Synopsis

The Exorcist 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 a spiritual crisis of his own, is suddenly confronted with the unimaginable evil of Regan’s possession. Father Lankester Merrin (Max Von Sydow), an archeologist-priest, is called to help, and a horrific battle for her soul begins.



Special Features:

· Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist (NEW) 40 years after his novel was published, The Exorcist author, screenwriter and producer returns to where it all began. First stop is a cabin/guest house in the hills of Encino, California, where Blatty wrote the novel. The author visits the place for the first time in 40 years and shares not only memories of writing the book, but also discusses how it inspired him. We then meet Blatty in two key and iconic locations; Georgetown University where the film was shot, and at the now-famous Exorcist steps. Throughout, Blatty reads from his novel, including an excerpt from a chilling newly published passage.

· Talk of the Devil (NEW) – While at Georgetown University, William Peter Blatty heard about a true case of possession from Father Eugene Gallagher. At the time the film came out, the priest talked at length about exorcism, the true story and about Blatty; this footage is now available for the first time in many years. It is as revealing as it is shocking.

· Two Commentaries by William Friedkin

· Commentary by William Peter Blatty

· Introduction by William Friedkin

· 1998 BBC Documentary "The Fear of God: 25 Years of the Exorcist”

· Raising Hell: Filming the Exorcist Set footage produced and photographed by Owen Roizman, camera and makeup tests, and interviews with director William Friedkin, actress Linda Blair, author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty and Owen Roizman.

· The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now -- Featuring a tour of the iconic locations where the film was shot.

· Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist — with director William Friedkin and author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty discussing the different versions of the film and featuring outtakes from the film.

· Original Ending

· Interviews

o The Original Cut

o Stairway to Heaven

o The Final Reckoning

· Sketches & Storyboards

· Radio Spots

· TV Spots

· Trailers



Premium:

Excerpt of The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir



The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Extended Director’s Cut Blu-ray™

Street Date: October 8, 2013

Order Due Date: September 3, 2013

Rated R

Run Time: 132min (Extended Director’s Cut)

122 (Theatrical Version)

Pricing: $49.99 SRP
 

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here's to hoping WB pulled a remaster and got rid of some of that DNR issues that the first release had.
 

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here's to hoping WB pulled a remaster and got rid of some of that DNR issues that the first release had.
Wow, I have 3 different copies of this movie hoping that each one would prove to be a better transfer than the last but no joy. So here's hoping x2.
 

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This is probably my favorite film of all time, or close to it, and I have every incarnation of it under the sun on various home video formats...further, I've done countless reviews on it in a myriad of media outlets and even did a one-on-one interview with Ellen Burstyn at a film festival that showcased this picture at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Interestingly enough, I happen to be in the camp that prefers Friedkin's Extended Cut, not really "put off" by any of what the critics have called the "mind-numbingly altering" CGI additions, score cues or interwoven sequences such as the now-famous "spider walk" scene; I attended the premiere of The Version You've Never Seen back in...oh what was it...'99 or so? and immediately was hooked on this alternate variant.

When it comes to the DVD and Blu-ray transfers of The Exorcist, I have always owned only version of the masterpiece on DVD media, and that's Warner's snapper case copy of The Version You've Never Seen (now simply called the Extended Director's Cut). That version, with its restored digital elements and reworked Dolby EX track, was plenty exciting and satisfying -- then, the Blu-ray came out, and I waited to purchase it because I have been so happy over the years with the snapper cased DVD. Finally, over one of the past Halloween seasons, I picked up the Digibook edition of the film, which is a nice package for fans containing pictures, stories and backgrounds on different elements of Warner's quasi-legendary title (it also informed me that Jason Miller, who played Father Karras, had passed away which I didn't know prior). The Digibook edition was broken up into two discs, one containing the Original Theatrical Release and the other the aforementioned Director's Cut. Also new were DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, replacing the Dolby Digital 5.1 remix found on previous "anniversary edition" versions of the Theatrical Cut on DVD as well as the Dolby EX track on the Version You've Never Seen. After exhaustively comparing these tracks to one another during some time, I came to the conclusion that the DTS-HD Master Audio mix on the Director's Cut of the Blu-ray sounded nearly identical to the excellent Dolby EX track on the DVD...it seemed to me it was really just the Dolby EX stems that got ported over to the DTS-HD MA algorithms for encode as all audio cues I knew like the back of my hand were there at seemingly the same output levels and in the same methods of attack...the whistling of the wind in the opening Iraq sequence, the clanging of metal and voices when Merrin walks about the village, the plane flying overhead between the surrounds when the Georgetown townhouse is introduced, the bellowing of "MEEEEEEERRRRRRRRIIIIIIINNN!!!" by the demon through the right surround channel in a rather startling fashion just before the final exorcism scene...nothing seemed to be different to me. The Theatrical Cut, also carrying a DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix, wasn't effective in my opinion at all, as it seemed Warner used original mono audio stems to merely spread sound through the front three channels, most of it even confined to just the center channel. To this day, even on Blu-ray, the Extended Director's Cut is the version to fully get immersed in.

I also noticed, when comparing the Blu-ray of the Director's Cut to the DVD version of The Version You've Never Seen, some visual elements had been changed, and I don't know if other fans picked up on this -- a good example is when Chris (Burstyn) checks on Regan (Linda Blair) in her bedroom and finds the crucifix...in the original DVD cut of this extended version, Chris walks out of the room and we hear a distant haunting score creep into the soundtrack while the "image" of the demon Pazuzu is superimposed on the wall next to Regan's door...this element has been erased on the Blu-ray version of the extended cut and I don't know why. The sudden "flashing" of the Pazuzu statue's face when Chris comes into her freezing cold room just moments before on the back of the bedroom door was also eliminated.

When discussing the video transfers of these different incarnations, as has been popular in this thread, to be honest, I didn't have an issue with much of even the original DVD release of the Extended Cut; were there moments that got noisy, twitchy and sometimes downright almost impossible to watch, such as when Karras (Miller) goes to his mother's apartment in New York and the blacks are bathed in a noisy, twitchy, pixelated mess? Sure. But for the most part, even the upconverted DVD image on my setup looked leaps and bounds better than the VHS variants that came before it. Again, when comparing the upscaled DVD of the Extended Cut to the Blu-ray version in the Digibook package, I came away with much of the sentiment as I did with the audio...the two looked very close in my opinion. What knocked me off my chair was the closeup of Merrin's (Max von Sydow) face early on in the opening dig sequence when he discovers -- or "rediscovers" if you go by the prequel stories introduced -- the Pazuzu statue head...this scene was so ridiculously clean, sharp and riddled with detail it was truly jaw-dropping. Likewise for the detail on his dust-covered hand as he breaks the statue head off the piece of rock it's lodged in, and subsequent closeup scenes following that. While very clean and detailed on the upscaled DVD, these sequences were downright eye-popping on the Blu-ray. However, with regard to all this DNRed-to-death talk regarding this title's releases, I didn't pick up on too much of that; the film contains, still, a plethora of film-like grain structure elements and some sequences still retain a noisy, unstable look -- watch closely in the sequence depicting the priest carrying the flowers into the church before he discovers the desacrated statue as this is riddled with a jumpy, twitchy kind of characteristic -- but for the most part, to me at least, the Blu-ray cuts look almost indistinguishable from the upscaled DVD.

Alas, unless Warner goes back and does an "extreme" restoration job on this legendary-to-fans title, giving it a spit-polish that would make it look like no other version before it, I don't see yet another reason to "triple dip" on this just to garner some additional insight and extras from the likes of Friedkin, Blatty, et al.
 

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This is probably my favorite film of all time, or close to it, and I have every incarnation of it under the sun on various home video formats...further, I've done countless reviews on it in a myriad of media outlets and even did a one-on-one interview with Ellen Burstyn at a film festival that showcased this picture at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Interestingly enough, I happen to be in the camp that prefers Friedkin's Extended Cut, not really "put off" by any of what the critics have called the "mind-numbingly altering" CGI additions, score cues or interwoven sequences such as the now-famous "spider walk" scene; I attended the premiere of The Version You've Never Seen back in...oh what was it...'99 or so? and immediately was hooked on this alternate variant.

When it comes to the DVD and Blu-ray transfers of The Exorcist, I have always owned only version of the masterpiece on DVD media, and that's Warner's snapper case copy of The Version You've Never Seen (now simply called the Extended Director's Cut). That version, with its restored digital elements and reworked Dolby EX track, was plenty exciting and satisfying -- then, the Blu-ray came out, and I waited to purchase it because I have been so happy over the years with the snapper cased DVD. Finally, over one of the past Halloween seasons, I picked up the Digibook edition of the film, which is a nice package for fans containing pictures, stories and backgrounds on different elements of Warner's quasi-legendary title (it also informed me that Jason Miller, who played Father Karras, had passed away which I didn't know prior). The Digibook edition was broken up into two discs, one containing the Original Theatrical Release and the other the aforementioned Director's Cut. Also new were DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, replacing the Dolby Digital 5.1 remix found on previous "anniversary edition" versions of the Theatrical Cut on DVD as well as the Dolby EX track on the Version You've Never Seen. After exhaustively comparing these tracks to one another during some time, I came to the conclusion that the DTS-HD Master Audio mix on the Director's Cut of the Blu-ray sounded nearly identical to the excellent Dolby EX track on the DVD...it seemed to me it was really just the Dolby EX stems that got ported over to the DTS-HD MA algorithms for encode as all audio cues I knew like the back of my hand were there at seemingly the same output levels and in the same methods of attack...the whistling of the wind in the opening Iraq sequence, the clanging of metal and voices when Merrin walks about the village, the plane flying overhead between the surrounds when the Georgetown townhouse is introduced, the bellowing of "MEEEEEEERRRRRRRRIIIIIIINNN!!!" by the demon through the right surround channel in a rather startling fashion just before the final exorcism scene...nothing seemed to be different to me. The Theatrical Cut, also carrying a DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix, wasn't effective in my opinion at all, as it seemed Warner used original mono audio stems to merely spread sound through the front three channels, most of it even confined to just the center channel. To this day, even on Blu-ray, the Extended Director's Cut is the version to fully get immersed in.

I also noticed, when comparing the Blu-ray of the Director's Cut to the DVD version of The Version You've Never Seen, some visual elements had been changed, and I don't know if other fans picked up on this -- a good example is when Chris (Burstyn) checks on Regan (Linda Blair) in her bedroom and finds the crucifix...in the original DVD cut of this extended version, Chris walks out of the room and we hear a distant haunting score creep into the soundtrack while the "image" of the demon Pazuzu is superimposed on the wall next to Regan's door...this element has been erased on the Blu-ray version of the extended cut and I don't know why. The sudden "flashing" of the Pazuzu statue's face when Chris comes into her freezing cold room just moments before on the back of the bedroom door was also eliminated.

When discussing the video transfers of these different incarnations, as has been popular in this thread, to be honest, I didn't have an issue with much of even the original DVD release of the Extended Cut; were there moments that got noisy, twitchy and sometimes downright almost impossible to watch, such as when Karras (Miller) goes to his mother's apartment in New York and the blacks are bathed in a noisy, twitchy, pixelated mess? Sure. But for the most part, even the upconverted DVD image on my setup looked leaps and bounds better than the VHS variants that came before it. Again, when comparing the upscaled DVD of the Extended Cut to the Blu-ray version in the Digibook package, I came away with much of the sentiment as I did with the audio...the two looked very close in my opinion. What knocked me off my chair was the closeup of Merrin's (Max von Sydow) face early on in the opening dig sequence when he discovers -- or "rediscovers" if you go by the prequel stories introduced -- the Pazuzu statue head...this scene was so ridiculously clean, sharp and riddled with detail it was truly jaw-dropping. Likewise for the detail on his dust-covered hand as he breaks the statue head off the piece of rock it's lodged in, and subsequent closeup scenes following that. While very clean and detailed on the upscaled DVD, these sequences were downright eye-popping on the Blu-ray. However, with regard to all this DNRed-to-death talk regarding this title's releases, I didn't pick up on too much of that; the film contains, still, a plethora of film-like grain structure elements and some sequences still retain a noisy, unstable look -- watch closely in the sequence depicting the priest carrying the flowers into the church before he discovers the desacrated statue as this is riddled with a jumpy, twitchy kind of characteristic -- but for the most part, to me at least, the Blu-ray cuts look almost indistinguishable from the upscaled DVD.

Alas, unless Warner goes back and does an "extreme" restoration job on this legendary-to-fans title, giving it a spit-polish that would make it look like no other version before it, I don't see yet another reason to "triple dip" on this just to garner some additional insight and extras from the likes of Friedkin, Blatty, et al.
I like this movie as well Osage, and I would hate to see it get the Lucas treatment. The reconvert to 70mm process way back in 1979 made for a better use of space but in my opinion was the first sign of video noise and the transfer to digital just amplified it. Of course back then we didn't have digital video to determine if the process would hold up over the long run. I sure would like to view the original non-reconverted, non 6 channel Dolby stereo, non digital CGI version from way back in 1973 again but that version is very rare these days.
 

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That is a rarity, indeed, Eric...

I'm just waiting for Warner to do a complete restoration from top to bottom, giving this film a new minting in 1080p -- though it was argued by Warner and Morgan Creek executives that the transfer seen on The Version You've Never Seen's DVD cut was taken from "restored elements" and was a remint; I have my doubts in certain places -- rather than just give us another what appeared to be (on the last BD cut) a simple port-over to a 1080p encode to repackage the Blu-ray...:rolleyesno:

The audio, as experienced now in English DTS-HD Master Audio and as taken from the excellent (IMO) Dolby EX stems on the Director's Cut DVD, I don't really think needs any reworking at all; surround cues are incredibly aggressive even though cues were "added" for heightened effect on this cut, the track carries somewhat quasi-heavy wallops of LFE in certain spots and overall it's a nice, solid enjoyable track -- especially considering it's running alongisde visuals from 1973...:T
 

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That is a rarity, indeed, Eric...

I'm just waiting for Warner to do a complete restoration from top to bottom, giving this film a new minting in 1080p -- though it was argued by Warner and Morgan Creek executives that the transfer seen on The Version You've Never Seen's DVD cut was taken from "restored elements" and was a remint; I have my doubts in certain places -- rather than just give us another what appeared to be (on the last BD cut) a simple port-over to a 1080p encode to repackage the Blu-ray...:rolleyesno:

The audio, as experienced now in English DTS-HD Master Audio and as taken from the excellent (IMO) Dolby EX stems on the Director's Cut DVD, I don't really think needs any reworking at all; surround cues are incredibly aggressive even though cues were "added" for heightened effect on this cut, the track carries somewhat quasi-heavy wallops of LFE in certain spots and overall it's a nice, solid enjoyable track -- especially considering it's running alongisde visuals from 1973...:T
Sorry to bring up an older thread Osage but since we both agree that The Exorcist is in our top 10 favorite movies list I just wanted to mention that Dr. Sapirstein's 40th anniversary 1080p preservation is the best version I have seen to date and is as close to the 1973 version with DTS HD audio being a plus 10 in this "version". :clap:
 
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