- 25TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION
Director: William Friedkin
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max Von
Sydow, Lee J. Cobb
, Jason Miller, Kitty Winn
A young girl is
possessed by a demon.
bare-bones presentation of The Exorcist, William Friedkin’s
powerful film adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel,
was among the first batch of DVDs released in the US. It was released
mainly because Warner Home Video was determined to be a key player in the
DVD market, and was committed to making sure that a large number of titles
was quickly available.
US the film’s status as a genre masterpiece was earned the hard way,
through critical acclaim, and its popularity with astonished audiences.
Here in the UK the film’s reputation and notoriety has been distorted by
a lengthy ban by the BBFC.
original disc was quickly replaced in 1998 by The Exorcist –Special
Edition, a 25th anniversary version that featured a re-mastered
version of the film in its theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 (16:9-enhanced) and
with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The new transfer has a warmer tone than the
film’s earlier DVD incarnation, and superior colour balance.
disc features include two interesting commentary tracks, one by Friedkin,
and another, by writer-producer Blatty (which runs for about an hour).
Following Blatty’s contribution are test recordings of Linda Blair and
Mercedes McCambridge running through some of the possessed Regan’s
On the flip side of the
disc is an extended version of the BBC’s excellent documentary, The
Fear of God, which is about fifteen minutes longer than the one
transmitted on TV. It contains specially-shot interviews with most of the
key members of the cast and crew, and features a number of deleted scenes
(including the infamous Spider Walking sequence), Linda Blair’s screen test
and other behind-the-scenes footage. A more complete alternative ending is
also presented, (this has been the subject of considerable argument over
the years, principally between the film’s author and its
director). An array of trailers and contemporary TV
adverts is also offered. It's rarely worth mentioning language tracks in
other languages (especially as their inclusion on a disc means less space
for extras, or a reduced bitrate for the picture), but it's worth
mentioning that the disc also carries a mono French
soundtrack, with Jeanne Moreau providing the demon’s voice!
The UK version version
was released in October 1999. It
seems that Warner Brothers went to great lengths to ensure that this
long-awaited release would be at least the equal of the Region 1 version,
but stumbled at the last hurdle: the version of The Fear of God documentary
on the UK disc is the shortened 53-minute version. The packaging lists 23
chapters for the documentary (which is correct for the long version), but
the UK version doesn’t actually have chapter marks at all, and can only be
accessed from the beginning.
REVIEW: The Exorcist - The Version You've
The Exorcist - UK Home Video History