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The Ninth Configuration (1980)

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Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Writer/director/producer William Peter Blatty and film historian Mark Kermode Rating:9.0/10 (2 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by badge on March 20th, 2010:Find all reviews by badge
I was apprehensive about hearing Blatty spout all kinds of socio-psycho-religious fluff throughout this commentary, given the scrambled nature of the movie, but, refreshingly, he keeps on track with several anecdotes and insights into the making of the film and the circumstances of its MANY different versions. Kermode is a worthy co-host on the track - he obviously knows his stuff about the film and primes Blatty with intelligent questions throughout. Together they smooth out all the confusion of the different versions of the movie (and the book) by mapping out deleted and reshuffled scenes that explain the characters' motivations and the primary theme of the movie.
Reviewed by iwantmytvm on August 8th, 2021:Find all reviews by iwantmytvm
Blatty talks about the origins of the film, his idea, and the accompanying book, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane." Prior to writing the Exorcist, he had worked extensively in comedy. That did result in some tonal challenges in this film, sometimes leaving the audience unsure how to react. There was also a history of the film (and the book) being mismarketed as horror. Blatty pulled distribution and publishing rights from the distributor and publisher for this reason. Two other theatrical distributors also violated agreements with Blatty and he ended terms with them as well.

He speaks to his experiences as a first time director and his relationships with some of the actors. He points out some instances with Stacy Keach and Robert Loggia in which they already had optimal ideas for the character motivations in the scene. A strong camaraderie developed among the cast and crew.

Kermode does a solid job prompting Blatty into discussion of various aspects of the film. They delve into spirituality, themes and symbolism, casting, locations, and some of the reactions of the time. Kermode asks about the multitude of versions and cuts of the film, why certain elements were cut from the book and the script. They touch on the violence in the bar fight scene and the resulting X rating in the UK. Blatty shares a reaction that he received (twice) from Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.

They filmed in Budapest as part of a deal with Pepsi Cola that the company would finance the film if it was shot there. This was due to the interest in Pepsi to have a bottling plant in Hungary. All of the interiors are sets in Budapest and Vienna. Only the exteriors are the actual castle.

Blatty is convinced that their hotel rooms in Budapest were bugged by the Hungarians and offers some anecdotal evidence to support his claim.

Kermode infers that Blatty is more proud of this film than the Exorcist. Blatty agrees and does not have a good explanation as to why he still continues to tinker with it. He anticipates that he would like to add 20 minutes of footage back into a subsequent cut.