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David Poland

By David Poland

The French Connection in Blu

The French Connection on Blu-ray is one of the great additions to the highest shelf of my Blu-ray library, up there with The Godfather, the Kubrick films, and Pixar

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53 Responses to “The French Connection in Blu”

  1. York "Budd" Durden says:

    LOL, you and Wells really do seem to have a true antipodal relationship to one another, DP.

  2. mutinyco says:

    So you don’t mind the fact that the image in the Blu-ray transfer isn’t the original vision, but a complete re-thinking of its aesthetic? Friedkin bleached the image and pushed the grain. A lot of websites have been trashing the new disk, and apparently, Owen Roizman has too.
    I haven’t seen it, so I don’t have an opinion on the matter.
    Just seems odd that your review is a near polar opposite of everything else I’ve read…

  3. christian says:

    Amazing you could write that whole thing out without mentioning Owen Reizman or Robert Harris’s opposite take.
    Come on, David. You’re being deliberately contrary, regardless whether you like the Blu-ray or not, there’s another perspective here.

  4. yancyskancy says:

    Yeah, I’m really surprised you don’t at least acknowledge the controversy. There are a couple of things about it on Glenn Kenny’s blog, including a link to an interview with, among others, the film’s DP, Owen Roizman, who wasn’t even consulted on the new transfer.

  5. Spacesheik says:

    THE FRENCH CONNECTION is a great fucking film, a masterpiece that hasn’t lost its edge in almost 40 years, what a gripping, rousing, and bleak piece of cinema – the villain Fernando Rey evades capture at the climax and the brilliant Gene Hackman mistakenly kills another cop by mistake without remorse – what modern day Hollywood flick or filmmaker could have the balls to execute such a cliamx?
    I even love FRENCH CONNECTION II which is set in Marseilles and was one of the first fish-out-of-water action dramas that we are so used to nowadays. The cold turkey sequence by Hackman rivals or betters his work in the original – and what a glorious ending at the Marseilles dock – quick, merciless and unexpected.
    I love these movies.

  6. David Poland says:

    I didn’t even know about the controversy.
    And now that I know, I will look into it.
    But it certainly won’t change my perspective on what I saw on the screen.
    As usual, none of that stuff really matters when it comes to the movie itself… just as it won’t for me on Watchmen. The side issues are the side issues. The movie is the movie. And when we end up distracted by the side stuff to the point where it skews our perspective on what we see, we are not serving our audiences well.
    It doesn’t matter how much it cost, who hates who, what studio did what to what studio, happy set, sad set, dead actor, jerk director, etc. In the end, you get the movie and only those for whom it is not just a movie, but their lives and careers, should have any real interest in the rest.

  7. David Poland says:

    And do I have to be clearer? A bunch of you were presumptuous and dead wrong about what I was thinking or how I was motivated. I don’t read Wells and I haven’t read word one about this disc being controversial.
    Take this as a life lesson in assuming you know what anyone else thinks because if YOU thought it then YOU would be disingenuous.

  8. The Big Perm says:

    I think stuff that you’re prasing, likethe grain and such…was added specifically for this DVD. I’ve never seen a great transfer of The French Connection, so I don’t know how grainy it ever was…but they definitely bleached the look among other changes.

  9. storymark says:

    Regardless of whether you knew about the controversy or not, it seems odd that you’d not even mention a rather drastic change to a film you seem to love so much.

  10. christian says:

    “The movie is the movie.”
    Robert Harris: “His new color concept, which is actually an old color concept, is quite different from the way the film looked 27 years ago when it had very natural color by deluxe.
    The other point that needs to be noted is that what one is seeing in this Blu-ray incarnation, is no longer the Best Picture of 1971. It is a re-vision. Like many of the Disney animated classics, it has been visually “re-imagined.”

  11. David Poland says:

    Well, that really is the point, Story, ain’t it.
    It doesn’t play like a drastic change, anymore than the deep blacks in The Godfather do.
    Old prints, VHS, television, and even DVD doesn’t stand in for memory very well… nor do memories of 38 years ago.
    I respect Owen Roizman’s opinion, if it is based on something other than pique. (I don’t know if that is the case… haven’t read it yet.) But everyone else… pretty much a load of guessing and rosey glasses, I would imagine.
    I mean, I still can’t believe the censors cut the wind from the subway blowing up Monroe’s skirt!!!!

  12. MarkVH says:

    Dave, you’re flat-out wrong on this one – the controversy is more than just a bunch of people whining through rose-colored glasses. It’s the issue at the very core of film preservation and one that’s dominated the conversation surrounding Blu-Ray format as much as the Widescreen vs. Fullscreen dominated the DVD one – just what is the purpose of home video transfer? Most believe it’s to represent the film, as originally shot, as accurately as is possible. Many Blu-Ray discs (The Godfather, Bonnie & Clyde) have achieved this. Others (Patton, Pan’s Labyrinth) have not.
    I’m sure The French Connection plays great on Blu, because in all honesty the only thing that could seriously fuck up this amazing movie is having Greedo shoot first. But it is – intentionally – not The French Connection as it was originally filmed, and to diminish those who take issue with this is to do a disservice to the preservation movement.

  13. mutinyco says:

    The Roizman podcast is linked on the main MCN page.

  14. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, this really isn’t a side issue. Like if they made a Blu-Ray of Schindler’s List and colorized it. It’s a real change to the movie.

  15. David Poland says:

    So… MarkVH… you are telling me how wrong I am though you haven’t even seen the disc?
    Were you out protesting Last Temptation too?
    Comparing this to colorizing Schindler’s List? I try not to go to this too often… but are you out of your fucking mind?
    As Glenn Kenny points out and Christian, to mak is argument, fails to point out, no less a geek than Robert Harris is good with this transfer. Harris wrote:
    “Personally, I like what Mr. Friedkin has done with the film, and as the director, has the right to update and change the film. The original negative still survives, unchanged. His new color concept, which is actually an old color concept, is quite different from the way the film looked 27 years ago when it had very natural color by deluxe.
    The other point that needs to be noted is that what one is seeing in this Blu-ray incarnation, is no longer the Best Picture of 1971. It is a re-vision. Like many of the Disney animated classics, it has been visually “re-imagined.”
    Might it still have won awards at the time of its release if it looked as it does now?
    Could this look have been achieved in 1971?
    What Mr. Friedkin, and his colorist have done is to cross-pollinate 1930s and ’40s dye transfer technology with the modern digital world, and the fact that they carried out this experiment, which IMHO works, shows just how talented Mr. Friedkin remains as a filmmaker and technician.
    But let’s go back to the not so lusty, color drenched years of early Technicolor.
    To many, dye transfer Technicolor was an extremely problematic system, that needed not only a great deal of hand holding, but also needed to be tamed.
    Producer David O. Selznick, one of the format’s earliest proponents, along with Walt Disney, felt that the potentially heavy Technicolor look was too much for the modern audience to appreciate. Fox used it undiminished for many of their “40s musicals.
    So he toned it down.”
    Later, he adds:
    “Not your father’s French Connection, but a very interesting and beautiful one.
    If I were able to make a single change, it would have been a simple one.
    I would add a third disc — the film is certainly worth it — with the original Academy Award winning version of the film, as seen in 1971, the new version of French Connection “redux,” and the third disc of extras.
    From his appearance on the Blu-ray special feature, Mr. Friedkin appears to be a very young 73, and is certainly in tune with modern processes. I’d very much like to see him behind the camera again ASAP. Just imagine what he could turn out going full digital with a Dalsa or Red, and taking it to a digital intermediate.
    Highly Recommended.”
    Highly reccommended by the #1 guy who preserves films for a living.
    This is a tempest in an obsessive compulsive teapot.
    I don’t really care about the controversy – now that I have read about it – or about the argument going on between people who are beating their chests about all this. It is NOT comparable to widescreen vs pan-n-scan. This is The Director making a choice. (One I actually like, by the way.)
    Now, I don’t much care for re-cuts with character additions, etc. You can take A-Redux and the additional digital characters in Star Wars, etc. and throw them in the trash for me. I am down with that. If Lucas or Coppola insisted that the only version of their films to be on DVD or Bu-ray would be revisionist cuts, would be a shame.
    But color-timing?
    This is the bigger issue than the film itself?
    A person who loves film would attack a great film with a great transfer because he doesn’t like the pretty minor change the director made?
    I guess Pops wants his Oscar show in black & white with Bob Hope hosting too.
    Even Roizman, in his Ardillas interview, says, “It was the script that made the film.”

  16. christian says:

    David, for somebody who macroscopically examines all things media, this is not a side issue. It’s not particularly dangerous, but it does deal with changing film esthetics. It’s a fun discussion. More interesting than an Oscar musical number.

  17. mutinyco says:

    Roizman also said the transfer is “atrocious” and that he wanted nothing to do with it.
    I think the only reason the debate started here was because you were raving about how great the picture quality was. While others have read that that’s the problem with the disk.
    That said, nobody’s questioned the quality of the movie itself.

  18. The Big Perm says:

    David, that’s a lot of words written by someone who didn’t even recognize the change and had no idea it happened, and then basically called the DP of the fucking film a whiner.

  19. MarkVH says:

    “So… MarkVH… you are telling me how wrong I am though you haven’t even seen the disc?
    Were you out protesting Last Temptation too?”
    Wow, there you go missing my point completely. When did Jeff Wells take over this blog?
    I said that you were wrong on the issue, not about how good the film looks. I said I’m sure the film looks and plays beautifully, ’cause the movie is fucking awesome. But there are problems and issues that simply cannot be ignored and you go on minimizing the impact of what changing the inherent and original look of the film means. Of course Harris admits that he’s good with the transfer, but he also acknowledges that it’s not the film that was originally shot. The distinction matters. Some people are purists. You are not. Fair enough.

  20. The Big Perm says:

    Also, DP, you said that this choice could have been made in 1971…guess what, it wasn’t.

  21. leahnz says:

    ‘It’s the issue at the very core of film preservation and one that’s dominated the conversation surrounding Blu-Ray format as much as the Widescreen vs. Fullscreen dominated the DVD one – just what is the purpose of home video transfer? Most believe it’s to represent the film, as originally shot, as accurately as is possible.’
    what a lot of pretentious twaddle. who decided that’s the purpose of dvd/blue ray transfers? film is art, art changes and evolves, what skin is it off your nose if friedkin tinkers with his baby? the DoP has issues because he feels it’s his baby, too, and friedkin died the baby’s hair blue without talking to him about it first, fair enough, but quite clearly the original print of the film still exists and there are numerous dvd incarnations. no one is forcing anyone to watch or buy the blue-ray version, so just get ‘the french connection’ on dvd (i have, since my vhs copy wore out) and shut up.
    (and here’s a wild thought: maybe david poland actually digs the re-tinted blue-ray version and it’s not a conspiracy to piss everyone off, god forbid)

  22. Not David Bordwell says:

    To quote the redoubtable Jim Broadbent as W. S. Gilbert:
    “Ah, leahnz. As ever, the sole voice of reason.”
    I would add that serious clashes between creative minds are and always have been part of any collaborative process. I don’t have any skin in this game, but how is this particular objection by the DP any different from,say, McCartney vs. Spector over Let it Be, or closer to the case, Towne vs. Polanski over the ending to Chinatown? Or for that matter, Sullivan vs. Gilbert over the aborted attempt between Ida and Mikado?
    Seriously, what Principle of Art are the purists here protecting? The Sistine Chapel can’t be cleaned? The Mona Lisa can’t be silkscreened? We need a “Director’s Cut” of Blade Runner, but not of Alien — the former authorized but not supervised, and the latter declined, by the director? Whose movie is the “Director’s Cut,” anyway? Michael Arick’s, or Ridley Scott’s?
    Live by the auteur theory, die by it, too. Them’s the breaks.
    And by “DP” I mean the Director of Photography, not Dave Poland — although I continue to be astonished by how many posters here feel they should be able to dictate what DP posts on his blog. It’s his BLOG. HIS blog.

  23. drturing says:

    What you’re all missing the point on is what this means for below the line talent, especially Directors of Photography ESPECIALLY when in this day and age a large part of the look of the film is determined in the digital suite; i.e. if it’s being shot on film, it’s not even being exposed for film but for maximal information in the digital color space. “Film” looks nothing like it did in the 80s because the color correction of an overexposed negative is no longer photochemical.
    But there’s no contractural obligation whatsoever for any DP to have any say in the matter or for them to get paid for these sessions (which do take up a lot of time). And that’s morally as an artistic consideration not proper. I know that from a producer’s standpoint it doesn’t mean shit – but I think out of courtesy or respect to even consider for a moment what the DP thought as the DIRECTOR of photography is reprehsible.
    And to say that Roizman acted in a fit of pique – we’re talking about a photographic style that influenced an entire arm of filmmaking. To not have consulted with him was cowardly. I don’t give a fuck what Friedkin says, he didn’t make that film alone.

  24. MarkVH says:

    Actually leah, apart from the whole “pretentious twaddle” thing (which may be so, but if the question is at least raised in the film-to-Blu transfer process I imagine it will prevent a good number of shitty Blu-Ray transfers), I’m with NDB – I’d say I agree pretty much completely.

  25. Not David Bordwell says:

    For the record, I find a lot of things about Billy Friedkin in particular morally reprehensible (including his treatment of women both on and off the set — according to the parameters of the debate, even his abuse of Ellen Burstyn on the set of the Exorcist is a “side issue”), and he should have consulted Roizman. It is my impression, though, that he has always been an egomaniac.
    However, I am also interested in the connection between Poland’s assertion that “the movie is the movie” and MarkVH’s insistence that “the purpose of home video transfer [is] to represent the film, as originally shot, as accurately as is possible.” Both positions, I believe, rest on the acceptance of an auteur theory — that “an artist” creates a “work of art.”
    Personally, I think the auteur theory has never been true to the fundamentally collaborative nature of filmmaking. But home video transfer for the Criterion set, like this argument, lives or dies by it. Roizman (and how many countless others responsible in such measure for a film’s success, from cinematographers to editors to screenwriters to production designers to sound mixers…) suffers the consequences, and has a right to squawk, but Poland should certainly be allowed to express his opinion about the result on his own blog without getting castrated by the negarati.
    Yeah, I just coined that. Literati, Technorati, Negarati = “technocratic negativist elites.”
    When Criterion starts issuing “the films of Conrad Hall,” progress will have been made, don’t you think?

  26. yancyskancy says:

    Gee, okay, “life lesson” learned. I’m surprised this degenerated so quickly. Looking back over the thread, three or four of us made the not unreasonable assumption (but, yes, still an assumption) that David knew about the transfer controversy. Because, you know, he’s David Poland of Movie City News and, speaking for myself, the only things I’ve seen online about this disc thus far relate to said controversy. And I assumed (bad Yancy!) that Dave probably follows these things more closely than I do, especially since he has seen the disc (and possibly some supplemental material about Friedkin’s changes — but I won’t assume that).
    So mea culpa on the assumptions. But I agree with the others who have noted that the issue is an essential one in the preservation world. It has been since the beginning and undoubtedly always will be, because the technology has changed and will change so much over the years. Harris’s stamp of approval is cool, but it’s not as if no one has ever questioned the wisdom of some of his choices (lots of major film writers have taken issue with his work on Vertigo, especially the sound mix).
    And unless I missed something, not one person here has had anything but praise for the movie itself. Dave’s phrase about a person who would “attack a great film with a great transfer because he doesn’t like the pretty minor change (…)” is a bit disingenuous because no one here has attacked either the film or the transfer. We only questioned why Dave didn’t seem to have the same problem other reviewers are having.
    I love the movie and I’m interested in seeing Friedkin’s upgrade. While I don’t think that the visual presentation of film (a visual medium after all) is “side stuff,” I’m sure I’ll agree with Dave that would take much more than some misguided color correction to ruin this one. Hell, when I was a kid, you had to put up with some pretty piss-poor prints if you wanted to see certain classic films, so I’m used to looking past such problems to the masterpiece beneath.

  27. LexG says:

    Agree with NDB from above where he said he couldn’t believe how much flack Poland caught for this effusive post, where he was just trying to convey HIS enjoyment of the transfer (and of course the film.)
    On a side note, William Friedkin is the embodiment of PURE OWNAGE; Though always noted for his intensity, his biggest hits have been mainstream enough and his bombs obscure/neglected enough that only occasionally does someone note the unbelievable (and AWESOME) strain of misanthropic, cold, unsympathetic nihilism that runs through almost all his stuff.
    After Carpenter, he’s probably my second favorite DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY guy ever. His tracks just crack me up, Billy all INTENSE and BOMBASTIC and 10000% HUMORLESS, with that distinctive cadence and loud-ass voice, bloviating about “MY FILMS ARE ABOUT THE THIN LINE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL”; I can just picture him there in the booth in his leather jacket and oversized 1971 wire-rims, scaring the shit out of any and every hapless PA and sound tech guy.

  28. christian says:

    See, without this esthetic issue, the conversation would have ended way back up there;]

  29. leahnz says:

    just a note to say:
    thank you, notdavidb, i sorta worry for a world where i’m a voice of reason but i’ll take it!
    markVH, that’s mighty big of you (re: ‘pretentious twaddle’, i just love saying shit like that when i feel indignant, for some reason i turn into an old british lady)

  30. leahnz says:

    forgot to say regarding your 4:34 PM comment, ndb: exactly

  31. David Poland says:

    The thing that makes me a little nuts about all of this is that I am responding to what some oher writer wrote about the Blu-ray… and now, how Roizman is being quoted, without being quoted in any depth, I might add.
    I don’t owe it to anyone to know what Jeffrey Wells thinks. You may think he is a purist, but he is also the kind of person who attacks movies that he has only seen minutes of before walking out.
    I will add more later, but I have listened to as much of Aaron’s interview as I had time for earlier… about 20 mnutes… and at that point, plenty of talk about the movie (which he took the interview to discuss) nd no screaming in rage about the Blu-ray.

  32. christian says:

    I should have put in the full quote, but I didn’t want to Lex up the page — that’s why I linked to it. Roizman also said what he said and it’s worth exploring as a study in film-making and the new media. No reason to go nuts.

  33. MarkVH says:

    And just a quickie follow-up to NDB, who said “However, I am also interested in the connection between Poland’s assertion that “the movie is the movie” and MarkVH’s insistence that “the purpose of home video transfer [is] to represent the film, as originally shot, as accurately as is possible.””
    For the record, I didn’t insist on anything – merely posited that there’s a good contingent of the preservation/home theater crowd that believes this – including Robert Harris himself, who’s gone on record as saying so despite being open to revisionist takes by either the creator or someone else (as with the Disney DVDs). I think it’s a debate worth having and one for which I think both sides can make good arguments.

  34. David Poland says:

    I have now listened to Aaron’s interview of Roizman and had a quick chat with Aaron.
    It turns out that the interview was booked well before Roizman had seen the Blu-ray or knew about the controversy.
    Roizman does seem anxious in the interview to talk about the transfer and how unhappy he is with it. He also praises the colorist who did this work for Friedkin, Brian McMahon, in spite of his issues with the Blu-ray.
    I think it would be unfair of me to suggest that I know all of Roizman’s reasons for being unhappy. But I do think it is clear that he is not happy about not being consulted. (He has been brought in for the Exorcist Blu-ray transfer as well as for Condor.) It is also pretty clear that he gave the film he shot to Jerry Greenberg to cut and was on another film when French Connection was color timed… so his ownership of that… well… I don’t know.
    Aradillas makes the interesting point that Friedkin has said that he is using this technique on all of his DVDs since The Hunted in 2003. If he is obsessed with this one look, that is problem of a certain kind.
    Aradillas has Friedkin coming on the show this next week, so expect more discussion of all of this to come out of that.
    In the meanwhile, every visual comparison I have seen of the older DVD and this blu-ray, I have preferred the Blu-ray. And I find it rather amusing that Wells, who HATES Janusz Kaminski because his Spielberg films are too blue

  35. David Poland says:

    One last quote from Robert Harris: “Fox has not tainted the grain or resolution in any way.”

  36. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Taking this to its logical extremes as things usually go on this blog. I’ll just throw out here that tech nerds are the most boring individuals on the face of the earth and the minute I get stuck in a conversation about bitrates or artifacts I usually push the person over and drop a footlong brown-dog into their gaping mouths.
    These jerks wait for the day when all consumer players will have pull down menus for live rendering of the image, with an entire filter plug in system, like add grain, desaturate etc.
    Finally DP starts emoting and showing his passion for film (something that gets lost here sometimes) and the nerds come out of their holes to blather on.
    All art evolves. No it doesn’t. The medium does but not the art. Someone compared the cleaning of the Sistene Chapel to the tinkering of films… that doesn’t even make sense. The idea of cleaning the fucking roof is to make it look like it was originally. Not to add dayglo spot colour to peoples cheeks. Get real.
    Friedkin is a raging ego-maniac. A fiery talent yes, an entertaining opinionated ranter, hell yes but also a director who has made some colossal stinkers. Seen The Guardian recently?
    Transfers of films should always be done in consultation with the cinematographer. There’s no excuse for that not too happen.
    I have an old transfer of the film that looks comparable to my 35mm print of it. End of story. Fiddlers like Friedkin are people who just can’t let go. Twiddling with their past glory instead of making another BUG.
    Its sad because he defined a style of filmmaking others and now he’s gone back to alter that striking original vision to be in line with the ‘improvements’ his imitators have done sense then.
    The snake eats it tail.

  37. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Its sad because he defined a style of filmmaking that others followed and now he’s gone back to alter that striking original vision to be in line with the ‘improvements’ his imitators have done since then.

  38. modernknife says:

    Please…just bring on a special edition of SORCERER.
    Roy Scheider. Tangerine Dream. No English for 20 minutes. The bridge. That ending. The title.
    Pure Friedkin.
    Can’t wait to hear the commentary.

  39. christian says:

    “Finally DP starts emoting and showing his passion for film (something that gets lost here sometimes) and the nerds come out of their holes to blather on.”
    You mean the folks with a passion for film showed up to discuss? I thought that was the point…

  40. LexG says:

    THE GUARDIAN OWNS. Well, not really, but Carey Lowell and Cipher Supreme DWIER BROWN sort of OWN. And Friedkin’s commentary on that is classic. They stick some poor sap with the unenviable task of interviewing/moderating with him, and as always Billy just BLOVIATES all over the motherfucker. At one point the dude asks Friedkin about the Alan Smithee TV cut (which most definitely exists), and Friedkin fucking SNAPS about how he’s never heard of such a thing and this is the only goddamn version of THE GUARDIAN.
    Maybe I like Friedkin so much because HE SPEAKS IN ALL CAPS.
    Also, I’d put CRUISING right up there with FC, Exorcist, TLADILA, and SORCERER as one of his masterpieces. One-of-a-kind movie and Robin Wood’s supportive essay on it is very much worth seeking out.

  41. David Poland says:

    I told that Cruising was put out on Blu-ray…. apparently using the same visual method used here… no complaining heard…

  42. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    To me you have no real passion for film, if you talk about bitrates and artifacts. It’s akin to listening to a salesman spiel in a Sony store. But hey thats just me. There are forums for those people to to and fro til the cows come home.

  43. christian says:

    I never use the words “bitrates and artifacts” – I do note the quality or lack of the film image, which is part of the passion. And I think Robert Harris would be surprised to hear he has no real passion for film considering his work restoring lost celluloid. But hey thats just me.

  44. mutinyco says:

    Really all Friedkin is doing is trying to imitate various bleach skipping and re-silvering techniques that used to be done in labs before DI took over.

  45. leahnz says:

    hey jbd, if you’re gonna rage like a bull and put people in their place, you need to read a bit more carefully.
    for instance, nobody directly compared cleaning the roof of the sistine chapel to tinkering with film colour (since he’s not here i’ll trot out not david bordwell’s comment as an example, hope that doesn’t offend); the comment about cleaning the sistine chapel – along with copying an image from a famous work of art to another medium and ridley scott’s ‘director’s cuts’ – was in reference to controversy over the ‘protection’ of art in its original form, what is and isn’t deemed acceptable alteration from the original and who decides, which isn’t silly and does indeed pertain to the issue at hand. you took it out of context.

  46. leahnz says:

    (apart from the fact that it’s the ceiling of the sistine chapel at issue, not the roof – that’s what rain is for)

  47. I can’t comment on the disc, but when you mentioned To Live and Die in LA (kickarse movie) I’m surprised you didn’t mention Michael Mann amongst the directors whose style he was going towards. Especially since Mann even sued Friedkin (if I have my history right) for all but stealing the style of Miami Vice.

  48. modernknife says:

    And don’t forget about RAMPAGE…just think…now Friedkin can put out a 3 Disc DVD version that includes his 1987 version, his 1992 version and a brand new 2009 version that can reflect his current opinion about the death penalty. With a new color correction transfer of course.

  49. The Big Perm says:

    I think To Live and Die in LA would have been just an okay movie…except for what happens in the last ten minutes.

  50. christian says:

    Uh…and that amazing wrong direction car chase. And William Dafoe in his first big role. Along with Tuturro. And no matter how easy it is to make fun of Wang Chung, I think the score is completely perfect for the palmy sleazy Los Angeles movie it is, one of the best films about the city.

  51. jeffmcm says:

    In all likelihood people weren’t talking about Cruising’s DVD release because it’s not a Best Picture winner beloved by generations of movie fans. All the discussion I saw of it had to do with the still-controversial content of the film itself.

  52. The Big Perm says:

    Christian, I’ll give you the car chase but not Dafoe, who had already proven his chops as the rubber-overall wearing gang leader in the filmmaking masterpiece Streets of Fire.
    So, a great last ten minutes and a great car chase and decent everything else means to me…still an okay movie. I deduct points for Wang Chung.

  53. Lota says:

    Serendipity…I was stuck in the middle of a pub last night when some dumb-ass played wang chung on the internet juke and I had to be restrained. Hate Them.
    But To Live and Die in LA is a great sleazy classic. And Gus grissom on the bed, hubba hubba.
    Good to hear Dave, can’t wait to get FC and FCII in blu-ray now that I have a machine ordered. I won’t be ‘collecting’ all over again however. The only movies I am adding to blu-ray I think would be the asian crime masterpieces and American gangster pics and any old French or British classics.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon