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The Exorcist (1973)

NOTE: These commentaries are only available on the "25th Anniversary Special Edition" of The Exorcist. The "Version You've Never Seen" DVD release has a different commentary by Friedkin.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director William Friedkin Rating:8.4/10 (37 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Blunt on June 7th, 2004:Find all reviews by Blunt
In stark contrast to the track on THE VERSION YOU NEVER SAW, this is one of the best commentaries around. Perhaps because this was recorded when THE EXORCIST could still be called under-appreciated
( this DVD, one of the first full on Special Editions, was instrumental in its re-evaluation ), Friedkin is fired-up and puts his case for the film's greatness aggressively ( some might say arrogantly ) and convincingly. He's a great and passionate speaker when he's on form and anyone with even a mild interest in THE EXORCIST will find this a compelling track.
Reviewed by MonkeeJuice on December 10th, 2007:Find all reviews by MonkeeJuice
What makes the commentary of The Exorcist gold is that the director talk about the plot really. You do get better at hearing about the story, especially if it's a backstory in a commentary.
Reviewed by reidca on February 21st, 2008:Find all reviews by reidca
I think this is the first commentary Friedkin did and it's hard to believe it's the same person who did those awful commentaries for The Version You've Never Seen or Cruising. Those are awful and my impression is the guy is contracted to do commentaries for all his films now. The level of depth of his discussion is extraordinary - he talks about questioning your beliefs and goes into background information on demons and mythology, scripting, the use of lighting and sound effects. He tells that great anecdote about the Clarence Hill - Anita Hill case that I can't repeat here. He talks about the subliminal images used in the film (he doesn't just conveniently ignore it the way he did the pornographic elements in Cruising for example), the way he would move the camera to obtain an intimacy. This track is phenomenal. Please Mr Friedkin, listen to this again and rekindle your passion for cinema (or don't record commentaries).
Reviewed by sillybilly on May 9th, 2008:Find all reviews by sillybilly
This is a pretty good commentary, a lot of information about the production. My only complaint is that near the end he does tend to narrate a little bit, but not much. I recommend it for fans of the film, not one of the best commentaries ever IMO, but still good.
Reviewed by Bickle, T. on July 20th, 2009:Find all reviews by Bickle, T.
Friedkin is a great speaker, his soothing tone is the perfect accompaniment for the frightful images we’re seeing. A track I’d highly recommend. Note: do not mistake this track for Friedkin’s track on The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen, which is dreadful.
Reviewed by musíl65 on September 26th, 2016:Find all reviews by musíl65
The commentaries of Friedkin are sometimes awful (esp. The Exorcist -The Version You’ve Never Seen). But here Friedkin is in good form. He talks very fluently. He has a lot of interesting points about the script, the real events, the novel, the actors, his documentary style, the DP, the music, the sound department, the voice of the demon, the shooting in Petra etc. The differences to the novel are also mentioned.

His view to the meaning of the story is great. Sometimes he is very funny. This track is perfect and a good addition to the movie. Don’t miss it. 10 out of 10.
Commentary 2: Screenwriter/novelist William Peter Blatty Rating:7.3/10 (26 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Blunt on June 7th, 2004:Find all reviews by Blunt
Blatty is a more considered speaker than Friedkin, less dynamic but still passionate about what was, after all, his baby. He goes into some detail about the conception of the book, dropping lots of tantalising hints about the supposedly real-life case that provided its inspiration and talks interestingly about the differences he had with Friedkin. He also makes the case for putting back a lot of the footage which would be reinstated in THE VERSION YOU NEVER SAW, whereas Friedkin, on his track, makes a convincing case for why those moments were left out. He was absolutely right, too, which makes it all the more puzzling that he eventually relented.

Note that Blatty's track only takes up part of the film's running time. The rest is devoted to Mercedes Camnbridge's voice tests for the Demon - a nice little extra in itself.
Reviewed by demtation on April 17th, 2009:Find all reviews by demtation
I found this track mesmerizing. Blatty is very well spoken and his accounts of the creation of the novel and eventual screenplay are all interesting. He is rather soft spoken with frequent pauses, but for a serious film such as this, this (and Friedkin's) is my favorite style of commentary - literally a dissection of the minds behind the creation.