The Exorcist - why is the original version OOP?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Gordon McMurphy, May 9, 2006.

  1. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    The "25th Anniversary" edition of The Exorcist went OOP a few years ago - why? Simply to make way for the "Version You've Never Seen", but it's pretty rare for a Warner DVD to go OOP, even when a new edition comes along and it is doubly confounding, seeing as the "25th" edition is the true "special" edition, with the two amazing commentaries, the 74-minute documentary, the deleted scenes, etc. Of course, the transfer could be improved upon and the original mono mix would be welcome, but it's pretty much definitive. Did Friedkin perhaps insist on the previous DVD being pulled? Surely he doesn't consider the recut version the definitive version? There are many DVDs that I wish weren't OOP, but this has to be top of the list. I say this, even though I own the region 2 edition, which has a truncated version of the documentary - it is 52 minutes, omitting all of the Mercedes McCambidges interview footage, most of the segment on the initial reaction to the film and the footage of Mark Mermode 'hosting' the documentary on the streets of Washington. Why, is anyone's guess; it was an early Warner release and it a flipper, but, really, it is worse hatched job than the Jaws documentary on the first DVD release. I recently had a friend copy his region 1 DVD for me, so I could see the full documentary again.

    So, what's the deal, Warner - or Friedkin? Will we ever see the original version on home video again? Or are future viewers to pay $50-70 on Ebay or Amazon's Used and New?

    I am really surprised that there is very little bitching about the unavailability of the original version, while the generally considered inferior version is taking pride of place in stores.

    Any info or thoughts on this?
     
  2. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

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    It's very unfortunate if true. Because "The Version You Don't Want To See" can never replace the original classic "number one horror movie of all time".
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I own four different dvd releases of this personal favorite of mine.




    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    I obtained the OOP version on eBay and it didn't set me back too much.

    I have a sealed special edition widescreen VHS that came in the Warner box set in 1998...Interested?
     
  5. Josh Simpson

    Josh Simpson Supporting Actor

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    It looks like you can find used copies at amazon fairly cheap. They are pretty steep new, but if you don't mind used, you won't spend too much.
     
  6. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    I wish I were talented with ripping; I'd like to marry the fabulous 5.1 mix from the P&S side of the very original release with the improved PQ of the 25th anniversary edition. This movie has never gotten a first class release despite numerous efforts at it.
     
  7. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    There's four releases? I know there's the original disc, a 25th SE, the Version You've Never Seen, what's the other?
     
  8. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Brett_M, wrote: Thanks for the offer, Brett, but I actually own that box (British PAL edition) - the one with the lobbycards, senotype and the expanded CD soundtrack. A fine package. Curiously, the British VHS boxed set contains the 74-minute documentary. So I own the 74-minute docu on VHS and now DVD-R, but for the good of all, I want to see the original version of the film on DVD. For me, it is one of the high points in American Cinema, a story of incredible power and a film of mesmerizing skill and artistry.

    A Blu-Ray release will appear at some point of course, but which version will it be? We will see the original 153-minute version of Apocalypse Now again, later this year and the original versions of the Star Wars Trilogy, as well. Reconstructions of The Big Red One and Major Dundee were totally worthwhile and totally justified, but what was done with The Exorcist amount to tinkering, really. The 'spiderwalk', to me is a bit too much and the sublimal frames of Pazuzu and the white-faced demon are silly, frankly. The alternate ending is good, though and the film works for me with either ending. The new foley effects are also are bugbear.

    Warner has certainly revisted quite of their titles with 2-disc SEs, featuring new, superior transfers and The Exorcist would seem ripe for such treatment, especially as it is OOP.
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    A Collector's Edition that came out in 1999.




    Crawdaddy
     
  10. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    I totally agree. It's one of my favorite films. One of the best ever, imo. I would appreciate a new SE treatment with all of the "new" scenes available as deleted scenes or through seamless branching. The new sound effects and subliminal frames can be left out.
     
  11. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    I'm waiting for WB to release a definitive edition of this deserving title with both cuts (the original and 25th ann.) and all the accompanying extras from previous discs in a nice 2-disc set.

    Another film that should unquestionably be a part of my home video library, but isn't due to it's current unfitting incarnations on DVD.
     
  12. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    I just remembered something: Friedkin and Batty had to take Time-Warner AOL to court to get their royalties for the 2000 reissue and Friedkin and Batty also tried and failed to wrestle the remake rights from Warner that Batty gave them. Maybe, there is now bad blood between Friedkin and Warner? Maybe this is why the original version DVD was deleted by Warner. Has the original version played on TV in the last 12 months?
     
  13. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    The Anchor Bay/Universal DVD of The Guardian (with commentary by Friedkin and Dennis Bartok) is also OOP.

    Universal's DVD of Sorcerer is still in print, but has an poor, cropped transfer and no extras, as bemoaned by me many times.

    12 Angry Men, which should be 1.85:1 unlike the Australian DVD.
    Rampage is pretty underrated.
    Cruising seems to be strongly in demand for an uncut DVD release.
    The Brink's Job - I have the French DVD, which has a very good anamorphic transfer and a 1977 interview with Friedkin.
    The Boys in the Band was such landmark; it's amazing it's not on DVD.
    The Night They Raided Minsky's is conspicuously absent.
    The Birthday Party had a crummy, cropped UK DVD.

    Friedkin is definitely weakly represented on DVD.
     
  14. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    I have the 25th Anniv. DVD with the full 77-minute documentary, and I don't think I've ever seen the Mercedes McCambridge interview footage, although I have heard rumors about it. When and where did this turn up? Or does it just refer to interview footage about McCambridge?
     
  15. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    No, I made a mistake; there is no interview with Mercedes McCambridge. IMDb lists that there is, or that the segment on her is cut from the UK version. But I am sure I have seen an interview with McCambridge talking about the scene and imitating the demon voice somewhere - was it the TV version?
     
  16. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Second Unit

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    I remember it too Gordon, it was on the original BBC2 broadcast, I have no idea why it's since been removed from home video versions, but it's impossible to forget her talking like the devil!

    M
     
  17. JerryKILL

    JerryKILL Stunt Coordinator

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    Isn't the "original, original" DVD release of The Exorcist by WB the only one with the original WB opening logo ("red within red")? I think it was replaced by newer (IMO, less effective) Warner logos in all subsequent releases.

    It may seem nitpicky, but I think studios should resist the temptation to replace original logos with their new spiffy ones...it's painfully obvious to those of us who remember the original theatrical showings.
     
  18. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I agee with you, Jerry. That's my sole disappointment with the 25th anniversary edition.
     
  19. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Yes, that's right, they changed the opening logo for the 25th anniversary edition and VYNS. The old red-within-red Warner logo is a beautiful graphic and segues into the credits of The Exorcist much more effectively than the slick 'blue sky' computer graphic. Indeed, it is annoying when Warner do this with come of their older titles, though they don't do it with all, which makes one wonder what their policy is on this matter.
     
  20. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    to replace the original "jump cut". If you truly want the "original" version of THE EXORCIST on DVD, the only way to see it is via the original "flipper" DVD (and even this is debateable- does the flipper contain the original mono soundtrack from 1973? I can't recall...).

    Vincent
     

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