June     3 - 13, 1999 FORBIDDEN GAMES: THE FILMS OF

WILLIAM FRIEDKIN

 

Series Compiled by Dennis Bartok and Chris D.

Special Thanks To: Diana McKinney, Michael Hickey and Alfredo Aja/PARAMOUNT PICTURES; Scott MacQueen/WALT DISNEY PICTURES; John Kirk/MGM-UA; Heidi Kuebler, Leslie Fenady and Kurt Galveo/ WARNER BROS.; Linda Evans-Smith/WARNER BROS. CLASSICS; John Flynn/HOLLYWOOD CLASSICS; UNIVERSAL PICTURES; David Wolper. Also, our thanks to Eric Sherman for quotes from his Directing The Film - !

 

 

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"There’s a shot of Max von Sydow in THE EXORCIST walking through a bazaar where they’re making shoes, and it’s done without any light. No lighting ... the sun pouring through these holes in this cave and it doesn’t belong in the movie, but it’s just so beautiful." -- William Friedkin

For sheer cinematic punch, it’s hard to equal the films of director William Friedkin -- THE EXORCIST, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, SORCERER and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. are such great pleasures to watch, so downright addictive, that it’s easy to forget what a meticulous craftsman Friedkin is on every level.

A veteran of live television in the 1950’s, Friedkin turned to documentary filmmaking in the mid-1960’s, where he directed groundbreaking work including "THE PEOPLE VS. PAUL CRUMP" and "THE THIN BLUE LINE" -- training that led to the unnerving, you-are-there realism of THE FRENCH CONNECTION and CRUISING, the terrible beauty of THE EXORCIST and SORCERER. "What I try to do before each film is immerse myself totally in many tangential phases of that subject before I make it -- so I’m literally swimming in it before I expose a frame of film," Friedkin has observed.

Recently, Friedkin returned to his early roots in television drama with the highly-acclaimed 12 ANGRY MEN. He’s currently shooting the feature RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.

We’re pleased to welcome director William Friedkin to the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian for the first Los Angeles retrospective of his work.

 Thursday, June 3 - 8:00 PM

William Friedkin In-Person!! Brand-New 35 mm. Print!

SORCERER, 1977, Paramount, 122 min. Friedkin’s most visually awesome film (presented here in a gorgeous, new 35 mm. print), SORCERER follows small-time crook Roy Scheider from Brooklyn to the sweltering South American jungles -- where he lands a job hauling nitroglycerine with hardluck losers Bruno Cremer and Francisco Rabal. Rather than simply remake Henri Georges Clouzot’s famed WAGES OF FEAR, Friedkin re-imagined the story as a cosmic vision of Man vs. Nature -- climaxing in the mindbending image of Scheider and crew literally pushing a loaded truck across a spindly rope bridge. Discussion following Thursday 6/3 screening with director William Friedkin.

Friday, June 4 - 7:00 PM

William Friedkin In-Person!!

THE FRENCH CONNECTION, 1971, 20th Century Fox, 104 min. Arguably the greatest American crime film ever made: Gene Hackman stars as Detective Popeye Doyle, muscling minor hoods in NYC (the "you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?" scene is still a classic) -- when he catches the trail of a huge shipment of French heroin. With partner Roy Scheider, Hackman dogs drug-kingpin Fernando Rey through the concrete jungle -- highlighted by a brainjangling car chase that still hasn’t been topped (except perhaps in Friedkin’s own TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.!) Discussion following Friday 6/4 screening with director William Friedkin.

 Friday, June 4 - 9:45 PM

Restored 35 mm. Print!

THE BOYS IN THE BAND, 1970, Hollywood Classics, 120 min. With Cliff Gorman, Laurence Luckinbill. Friedkin’s breakthrough film (and one of the first Hollywood films with an all-gay theme), BOYS IN THE BAND is a scathingly-funny bitch-fest swirling around nine gay men who gather for the birthday party of Harold (Leonard Frey), a self-described "32-year old, ugly, pockmarked Jew fairy." Friedkin adapted Mart Crowley’s landmark Off-Broadway play with a stunning sureness of control -- almost the entire film is set in a single room, and Friedkin slowly, brilliantly transforms the space into a battlefield of fierce pride and wounded emotions.

 Saturday, June 5 - 4:00 PM

Friedkin’s Early Documentaries!

"THE THIN BLUE LINE," 1966, David Wolper Prod., 52 min.

"THE BOLD MEN," 1965, David Wolper Prod., 52 min.

Join us for a rare opportunity to see two of Friedkin’s landmark mid-60’s documentaries for producer David L. Wolper -- including the stunning "THE THIN BLUE LINE," a searing portrait of American police in action that anticipates the ground-zero honesty of THE FRENCH CONNECTION years later.

Saturday, June 5 - 6:30 PM

William Friedkin In-Person!! Brand-New 35 mm. Print!

THE EXORCIST, 1973, Warner Bros., 121 min. With Ellen Burstyn. Friedkin adapted William Peter Blatty’s bone-chilling novel into the American horror film -- where Catholic priests Jason Miller and Max von Sydow go head-to-head with the unholy one, inhabiting the body of Linda Blair. "I auditioned five hundred girls and went with Linda because I felt she was the most intelligent, most pulled-together youngster I had ever met." -- Friedkin. Discussion following Saturday 6/5 screening with director William Friedkin.

 Saturday, June 5 - 9:45 PM

 THE FRENCH CONNECTION, 1971, 20th Century Fox, 104 min. Arguably the greatest American crime film ever made: Gene Hackman stars as Detective Popeye Doyle, muscling minor hoods in NYC (the "you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?" scene is still a classic) -- when he catches the trail of a huge shipment of French heroin. With partner Roy Scheider, Hackman dogs drug-kingpin Fernando Rey through the concrete jungle -- highlighted by a brainjangling car chase that still hasn’t been topped (except perhaps in Friedkin’s own TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.!)

 

 

Sunday, June 6 - 4:00 PM

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, 1968, Walt Disney, 127 min. Based on Harold Pinter’s celebrated play, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY stars the great Robert Shaw as Stanley, the put-upon tenant -- with the menacingly enigmatic Patrick Magee and Sydney Tafler as the unwelcome strangers out to make Shaw’s barely marginal life a perfect hell. An underrated master of adapting drama-to-film (see THE BOYS IN THE BAND), Friedkin pushes Pinter’s savage material to the limit here, creating an unnerving sense of despair and paranoia.

Sunday, June 6 - 6:30 PM

Double-Feature!!

New 35 mm. Print!! GOOD TIMES, 1967, Walt Disney, 91 min. A lovably surreal artifact of the late 60’s (and Friedkin’s first feature), GOOD TIMES stars pop icons Sonny and Cher (in fur vest and enormous bellbottoms) as themselves -- a pair of wisecracking musicians hired by shark movie mogul George Sanders to come up with a film in 10 days. The 29-year old Friedkin said at the time "This is anything but a watusi picture -- there won’t be one frug in the entire film. It’s actually very moral" - !!

New 35 mm. Print!! THE NIGHT THEY RAIDED MINSKY’S, 1968, MGM/UA, 99 min. Britt Ekland stars as the Amish country girl who accidentally invents striptease after finding employment at Minsky’s burlesque house, with Jason Robards and famous Brit comic Norman Wisdom as the crafty lowlifes out to make a buck off her. Filled with odd touches (and co-starring the great Bert Lahr in his last screen appearance), THE NIGHT THEY RAIDED MINSKY’S has a strange, almost baroque flair -- one of Friedkin’s most fascinating experiments on film.

 Friday, June 11 - 7:00 PM

William Friedkin In-Person!!

TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., 1985, MGM/UA, 116 min. Friedkin’s startling, exhilarating thriller stars William Petersen as a hotshot Federal agent out to bust ruthless counterfeitor Willem Dafoe (in a revelatory, tour-de-force performance). Along the way, they collide with John Turturro as a drug-mule addicted to Pepto Bismol, and Dean Stockwell as Dafoe’s morally ambivalent mouthpiece. As dynamic and unnerving as THE FRENCH CONNECTION a decade earlier, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is Friedkin at his very best -- a turbo-charged ride through an imploding, morally-corrupt American landscape. Discussion following with director William Friedkin.

Friday, June 11 - 9:45 PM

Brand-New 35 mm. Print!

SORCERER, 1977, Paramount, 122 min. Friedkin’s most visually awesome film (presented here in a gorgeous, new 35 mm. print), SORCERER follows small-time crook Roy Scheider from Brooklyn to the sweltering South American jungles -- where he lands a job hauling nitroglycerine with hardluck losers Bruno Cremer and Francisco Rabal. Rather than simply remake Henri Georges Clouzot’s famed WAGES OF FEAR, Friedkin re-imagined the story as a cosmic vision of Man vs. Nature -- climaxing in the mindbending image of Scheider and crew literally pushing a loaded truck across a spindly rope bridge.

Saturday, June 12 - 6:00 PM

William Friedkin In-Person!!

CRUISING, 1980, Warner Bros. Classics, 106 min. A bleakly chilling emotional travelogue of desperation, loneliness and spiritual hunger, CRUISING stars Al Pacino as a na´ve undercover cop who descends into the leather bar underworld of New York’s gay S&M scene. Widely condemned and misinterpreted on its release, CRUISING emerges today as one of Friedkin’s major works -- it succeeds as a police procedural, horror film (there are scenes every bit as terrifying as THE EXORCIST), and saga of one seemingly "decent" man’s inability to face the truth about himself. Featuring a terrific score by composer Jack Nitzsche, with songs by The Germs. Discussion following with director William Friedkin.

Saturday, June 12 - 9:00 PM

Double-Feature!!

RAMPAGE, 1992, Miramax (Swank), 97 min. Filmed in 1987 (but strangely held for release until 1992), RAMPAGE stars Alex McArthur as a rabid serial-killer thrown behind bars -- where he comes up against district attorney (and death penalty opponent) Michael Biehn. The two square off in a gripping psycho-drama about the legal (and moral) definition of insanity -- shot with characteristic rigor by suspense master Friedkin.

JADE, 1995, Paramount, 95 min. Disillusioned cop David Caruso comes up against the always formidable Linda Fiorentino, as a warped, affluent psychologist out to play more than a few mind (and sex) games. Chazz Palminteri co-stars as Linda’s politically-connected hubby. Friedkin deconstructs screenwriter Joe Eszterhas’ glossy "sex-crimes-of-the-rich" potboiler into something richer and stranger -- a sleek, sensual look at the murderous lies adults tell each other (and themselves.)

Sunday, June 13 - 4:00 PM

THE BRINK’S JOB, 1978, Univeral (Swank), 118 min. With Gena Rowlands. After THE EXORCIST and SORCERER, Friedkin relaxed with this charmingly offbeat, beautifully-acted story of working stiffs Peter Falk, Peter Boyle and Warren Oates, who just happen to be involved in the crime of the century -- the real-life, $2 million robbery of the Brink’s vault in Boston, in 1950.

Sunday, June 13 - 6:45 PM

THE EXORCIST, 1973, Warner Bros., 121 min. With Ellen Burstyn. Friedkin adapted William Peter Blatty’s bone-chilling novel into the American horror film -- where Catholic priests Jason Miller and Max von Sydow go head-to-head with the unholy one, inhabiting the body of Linda Blair. "I auditioned five hundred girls and went with Linda because I felt she was the most intelligent, most pulled-together youngster I had ever met." -- Friedkin