Sorcerer(William Friedkin)1977

Production Budget: $22 million
Worldwide Gross: Around $6 million
Subsequent earnings: $6 million

You may not remember this movie, but this film effectively killed William Friedkin’s career (Exorcist, French Connection.  This movie was never given a fair shot.  This was a remake of the French classic Wages of Fear. Plot summary from IMDb:

Based on the French film Salaire de la peur, Le (1953), this production begins with the individual beginnings of outcasts of different backgrounds who are forced by fortune to work in a remote oil drilling operation in South America. When fire breaks out of control the outcasts are given the opportunity to earn enough money to get out by transporting two crates of unstable dynamite through miles of jungle in ancient trucks in this taut thriller. One stunt features two trucks attempting to cross a rope bridge over a raging river.

This drove many people away from the film because they believed it was sacrilege to remake a classic.  Other people were confused by the title.  Sorcerer, what does it mean?  Is it a supernatural movie like the Exorcist?  Is it a fantasy movie?  Only people who have seen the movie (me) know that is the name of one of the trucks hauling the dynamite.  But to everyone else it’s damn confusing.  The cost of the movie rose when all of the stunts were really done on location in South America and done by the actors.  Do you see that truck?  It’s really at that angle on that rickety bridge and Scheider is really driving that thing!  That’s freaking hardcore!  Scheider feared for his life.

The movie did lousy domestically and barely got a worldwide release.  The movie has received something of a cult following with a DVD release.  Look at the remarks on the IMDb page and the viewer comments on Netflix: they love it.  Friedkin never really recovered.  His next three big movies were Jade, Rules of Engagement, and Hunted (with Hunted being the best of the lame three)

Is it any good?  I honestly think it’s a masterpiece.  I have seen both the classic Wages of Fear and Sorcerer and to tell you the truth, I prefer the remake.  The movie is absolutely intense.  You feel the tension of these guys as they drive the volatile dynamite across an unpaved mountain road.  The slightest bump could kill them all.  Then they have to do crazy stunts like drive on a mountain road which is too narrow for trucks that size and the scene where they drive across the broke down bridge in the middle of a storm.  I say again: look at that picture!  How did they do that?  By the end of the movie your nerves are shot.  This is one of the best unknown movies and it’s a shame that no one knows this.  If you can get it or rent it from Netflix, then watch it.  Trust me.

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