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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
An Insider's Perspective
by Richard Jack Smith

 "Making of" books can be more than just names, dates and details you wouldn't want to know. They can provide an insider's perspective on films we admire. I have long awaited William Friedkin's autobiography. Sure enough, on April 16, I got my wish with the release of The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir.

This fascinating book delves into the making of some iconic motion pictures, such as The French Connection and The Exorcist. I consider the former to be the definitive cop thriller of its time. Who could forget the extraordinary car/train chase? By reading this book, you will know a lot more about the creation of this fine celluloid experience.

Of course, with every great tome there are shortcomings. For example, an extended look at The Exorcist, a film I have never liked, goes on too long. However, it's immediately countered with an impressive re-telling of the story behind Sorcerer, Friedkin's 1977 cult film. Based on The Wages of Fear, Roy Scheider stars in the lead role as one of four men hired to transport unstable nitro-glycerine to an oil well where a fire has erupted.

Having seen Sorcerer, I can testify to its unflinching, hair-raising authenticity, particularly during the sequence in which a truck tries to cross a rope-suspension bridge. Recently, various sources including Ain't It Cool News, have reported that Sorcerer will receive a proper DVD and blu-ray release. Let's hope there are plenty of special features!

Well-written and thoroughly engaging, The Friedkin Connection may cause you to revisit some classic works of art from the 1970s. Overall, it's a brilliant read which surpasses even my wildest expectations.

(The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir, published by Harper, is available on Amazon.com. Click here for more information.)


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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