William Friedkin’s film Sorcerer (1977) has been subject to a major re-evaluation in the last decade. A dark re-imagining of the French Director H.G. Clouzot’s Le Salaire de la Peur (The Wages of Fear) (1953) (based on George Arnaud’s novel); the film was a major critical and commercial failure on its initial release. Friedkin’s work was castigated as an example of directorial hubris as it was a notoriously difficult production which went wildly over-budget. It was viewed at the time as th end of New Hollywood. However, within recent years, the film has emerged in the popular and scholarly consciousness from enjoying a minor, cult status to becoming subject to a full-blown critical reconsideration in which it has been praised a major work by a key American filmmaker.
Mark Wheeler is professor of Political Communications at London Metropolitan University.
Chapter 1: William Friedkin, New Hollywood, and ‘Auteurial’ Filmmaking
Chapter 2: Sorcerer – The Film’s Production History and the ‘Politics’ of Hollywood System
Chapter 3: Sorcerer – From Source Novel to Friedkin’s ‘Reimaging’ of H. G. Clouzot’s La Salaire de la Peur (The Wages of Fear) (1953) – Fate and Entrapment
Chapter 4: Sorcerer – Sub-Textual Disorder, Global Economics, Geo-Politics and Magical Realism
Chapter 5: A Commercial and Critical Failure – The Impact on William Friedkin and New Hollywood
Chapter 6: The Resurrection of Sorcerer – From a Lost Film to a Masterpiece
A deep dive into the career of a tenacious and influential filmmaker, and a multidimensional history and critical appreciation of his overlooked masterpiece, Sorcerer (1977). Wheeler contextualizes the ups and downs of the director’s career, illustrating these with insight into the films’ inspiration, production, and reception. A must for Friedkin fans and scholars, and especially for admirers of his grim and thrilling jungle quest, which is now finally attracting the attention it deserves.
Best known for The French Connection and The Exorcist, William Freidkin capped his very successful 1970's trilogy with a third overlooked film. In this fascinating and well-researched new book, Mark Wheeler sheds light on this important film in the oeuvre of a major Hollywood filmmaker.