William Friedkin – Cruising (1980)

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A 1980 psychological thriller film directed by William Friedkin and starring Al Pacino. The film is loosely based on the novel of the same name, by New York Times reporter Gerald Walker, about a serial killer targeting gay men, in particular those associated with the S&M scene.
Poorly reviewed by critics, Cruising was a modest financial success, though the filming and promotion were dogged by gay rights protesters. The title is a play on words with a dual meaning, as “cruising” can describe police officers on patrol and also cruising for sex. Continue reading

William Friedkin – The Exorcist [Director’s Cut] (1973)

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Plot summary
A movie actress taking up temporary residence in Washington D.C. has her troubles. The script for the movie she’s filming seems inadequate. Her ex, who is also the father of her adolescent daughter, Regan, neglects to call the girl on her birthday. And the attic has rats. Meanwhile, Father Karras, a priest and a psychiatrist, is losing his faith; and he’s dealing with a sick mother who needs medical care he hasn’t the money to provide. Another priest, the old and ailing Father Merrin, has just returned from Iraq with forebodings of evil. These three persons meet when the sweet and cheerful Regan turns foul-mouthed and violent. But her sickness is beyond the reach of a medical doctor or a psychiatrist. What Regan needs is an exorcist Continue reading

William Friedkin – Bug (2006)

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Synopsis:
Having escaped her abusive ex-husband Goss (Harry Connick Jr.), recently released from state prison, Agnes (Ashley Judd), a lonely waitress with a tragic past moves into a sleazy, run-down motel and her lesbian co-worker R.C (Lynn Collins) introduces her to Gulf War veteran Peter (Michael Shannon), a peculiar, paranoiac drifter and they begin a tentative romance. However, things don’t always seem as they appear and Agnes is about to experience a claustrophobic nightmare reality as the bugs begin to arrive… Continue reading

William Friedkin – To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

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Worthy of the director of “French Connection,” the pace of this set- in-LA action thriller immediately draws the view in and never lets up. A car chase in the best traditions of “Bullitt” and of Friedkin’s own “French Connection” is centers the action, but the motivation of a rogue agent obsessed with the death of his partner, and clearly with his own death, are well- and credibly- drawn. The most sympathetic character in the story is not one of the principals. It is a female informer. An ex-con at the mercy of those on both sides of the law, she is callously exploited by all. Her feelings for Agent Chance are more implied than explicit, but they are believable as is his indifference to her as a person. This riveting film never lets your attention wander. Thanks to Friedkin, we are told, we are given a credible ending to this taut, tightly- wound thriller. An under-exposed, under-appreciated work; excellent for the genre. Continue reading

William Friedkin – The French Connection (1971)

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“The French Connection” is routinely included, along with “Bullitt,” “Diva” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” on the short list of movies with the greatest chase scenes of all time. What is not always remembered is what a good movie it is apart from the chase scene. It featured a great early Gene Hackman performance that won an Academy Award, and it also won Oscars for best picture, direction, screenplay and editing.

The movie is all surface, movement, violence and suspense.
Roger Ebert Continue reading

William Friedkin – Sorcerer (1977)

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Description: Sorcerer is a 1977 film, produced and directed by William Friedkin, starring Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal and Amidou. It is a remake of the 1953 French film Le Salaire de la Peur (Wages of Fear). Sorcerer followed Friedkin’s highly successful The French Connection and The Exorcist, but was a major commercial failure. The budget was estimated at over $22 million, a substantial sum at the time. With a gross of $12 million, the film did not recoup its costs. The film was co-produced by Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures, with Universal handling U.S. distribution and Paramount handling the international release. Sorcerer is also notable for its electronic score by Tangerine Dream, which was their first Hollywood film soundtrack, and led to them becoming popular soundtrack composers in the 80s. Continue reading

William Friedkin – The People vs. Paul Crump (1962)

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A very young William Friedkin produced and directed this documentary for television in 1962 when Paul Crump had been in prison for nine years, waiting on death row. Crump was convicted for the shooting death of a Chicago meat-packing plant’s security guard during an armed robbery, which netted some $20,000. Chicago police quickly moved in, arrested Crump, and convicted him, primarily based on the testimony of one of those convicted for the crime. Crump claims he’s innocent, was with a woman the day of the crime, and the woman later testifies in his defense, only to disappear later due to a public outcry and ridicule. Continue reading