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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Satanism > Drama > Legal > Sports > Racing > Bikes > Revenge > Drugs > Character Study > The Exorcist 4K (1973/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Set)/Directed by Sidney J. Furie (1970 - 1978 with The Lawyer/Little Falsy and Big Halsy/Hit!/Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living In New York/Boys In Comp

The Exorcist 4K (1973/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Set)/Directed by Sidney J. Furie (1970 - 1978 with The Lawyer/Little Falsy and Big Halsy/Hit!/Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living In New York/Boys In Company C/Via Vision/imprint Blu-ray Box Set)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: X/B (Levine: B-) Sound: B/C+ (Halsy and Boys: B-) Extras: C/B Films: B+/B- (Lawyer: C+)

PLEASE NOTE: The Sidney J. Furie Import Blu-ray set is now only available from our friends at Via Vision Entertainment in Australia, can play on all Blu-ray players and can be ordered from the link below.

Are movies from the 1970s better than from most eras? Often yes, but actually talking about those films and seeing them tell the whole story, as these releases show us...

William Freidkin's The Exorcist 4K (1973)

We have covered both Blu-ray sets with both cuts of the movie at these links:


Reissue with Ultraviolet Copy:


As with those sets, this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set has the two versions of the films on separate discs, but that is not an issue for me. Now seeing the film again for the first time in a good few years, it remains as effective as ever, Freidkin knew this edition was coming out and the film was further upgraded and preserved for theatrical presentation. It holds up well, especially the longer version, but it is even more impressive with all the imitators that have come out in just the last five to ten years. The prequels and TV series based on the book and this film hardly get discussed and for good reason. This also remains one of the most successful films in Warner Bros. history, still making money and gaining new fans and respect. Most of the visual effects even still hold up.

All that is why seeing this film in 4K is something to really check out.

Only the vintage intro by Freidkin and two feature-length audio commentary tracks from those Blu-ray sets are retained for this set.

A new set finally gives a much-needed limelight to an underrated filmmaker. Canadian-born Sidney J. Furie started making a name for himself on horror movies and angry young man films, then in 1965, he delivered a huge British classic with The Ipcress File with Michael Caine. The Naked Runner, Lady Sings The Blues, The Entity, Purple Hearts and the Iron Eagle films followed, along with some smaller films and occasional TV works. However, he made even more great and solid films that are criminally ignored and the new Directed by Sidney J. Furie tries to correct.

I'm sure the failure of Superman IV did not help the situation and being a journeyman filmmaker and not an auteur has also stopped him and so many other great directors form the period from being remembered. Sets like this are long overdue and for the many filmmakers out there who are also being forgotten, we cannot have enough of them. These are five very interesting films you should see at least once and have the director in his mid-prime.

The Lawyer (1970) has Barry Newman in a rare lead role as unconventional lawyer Tony Petrocelli, who is a devil may care type of guy and not the best man to hire for any job, but that complacency gets challenged when he is dragged into a high profile murder. Later a brief, respected TV series, it has its moments.

Little Falsy and Big Halsy (1970) also has the great Michael J. Pollard in a rare lead role, co-starring with Robert Redford as two dirt bikers trying to make a living and have all kinds of fun in the process. Part of a little-discussed cycle of more realistic (and naturalistic) sports dramas (mostly dealing with cars racing, but exceptions include Redford's own, underrated Downhill Racer and led to the car race chase comedies that wore thin quickly but the early 1980s) that were slice-of-life films with some character study as we get here, there is a bigger audience for this film than even at the time with such bike racing (joined by BMX, et al) that there are plenty of people who would really enjoy this one. Redford was not always happy with this film, but many think it is one of his best and I agree on some level, where he has to approach things differently and he is at his most realistic here. Model Lauren Hutton shows that she can act too!

Hit! (1973) was promoted like it belonged to the red hot Blaxploitation cycle of the day, but it is has Billy Dee Williams as a federal agent who's daughter had died from a drug overdose, so he decides to take the 'war on drugs' to a new level in this surprisingly effective action thriller. Richard Pryor shows up in a comic turn that works well enough, but is never overdone. Effective shot by Director of Photography John A. Alonzo (De Palma's Scarface) with a Lalo Schifrin music score, this is another gem way overdue for rediscovery.

Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living In New York (1975) is a character study film with the title character (Jeannie Berlin) trying to keep to herself and while trying to make it in the Big Apple and not get involved with anyone, but lands up falling for a man (Roy Scheider) who is not necessarily interested in commitment or her. This is the kind of mature, smart relationships film no one seems to know how to make anymore, which extends to the likes of cable, satellite and streaming programming. The great Gail Parent wrote the book and co-wrote the screenplay for this and though some parts are hard to watch, it is worth a look.

Finally we have The Boys In Company C (1978) which joined Cimino's The Deer Hunter as the first films to finally deal with the Vietnam fiasco, both films made partly outside of the Hollywood studios. Andrew Stevens, Michael Lembeck, Stan Shaw and Craig Wasson play the main recruits in the title outfit in 1967, whose fate is to become a key part of how early operations played out. R. Lee Ermey even shows up in a scene (later of Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket and Altman's Streamers) as these two films ended the 'he's coming home' cycle of Vietnam dramas for good. Holds up as one of the better entries in such feature-films in the cycle that played into the late 1980s.

That adds up to a very, very solid collection of films out of general circulation way too long and includes some great work by all the talent involved. Let's hope this is the beginning of a director's series of some sort because we could use that now!

Extras are many and listed in detail at the order link, but expect a bunch of new featurettes, new audio commentary tracks, original theatrical trailers for all five films and a high grade booklet on the five films and Furie himself. Very nice!

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.85 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Exorcist 4K may have some grain issues in parts and the debate about proper color timing that plagued Freidkin's The French Connection is surfacing again here, but this is even more effective a presentation than the already-effective Blu-ray editions we previously covered. Video Black and Video Red are richer, denser and makes the already creepy film more so. No, this is not in Dolby Vision unfortunately, but impresses throughout and even has some demo shots above my letter grade.

I went into detail about how the film started as a monophonic film in my older review, then kept getting upgraded over the years. Now it is in a new lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) upgrade that is even more effective than all previous editions, even more so than the punchy DTS-ES 6.1 lossless mixes on the older Blu-ray editions. They have gone back to the original sound stems and any harshness issues that existed before are gone, leaving the sound naturalistic, smooth and clear. That also leaves some of the dialogue sounding clearly monophonic, but all the sound effects, dialogue and music is better than ever. It also joins the rare company of other 4K releases like Hitchcock's Psycho (DTS: X) and Enter The Dragon (Dolby Atmos) as monophonic sound films that have miraculously been upgraded to 12-track sound in a way that works. Expect this to continue to be a rare thing.

That includes Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, the hit that put this film over, the original album of which has been issued in a limited edition Blu-ray Audio disc with the second quad mix of the album Oldfield actually liked (versus the first Quad mix, as featured on the SA-CD he apparently was not as happy with) plus a 5.1 remix making its lossless debut here and a Dolby Atmos mix of the original album that is also very impressive. There is even an unfinished Tubular Bells 4 sounding really good and was, of course, a much more recent recording. Wonder if these remasters were used in any way for this 4K disc.

All five Furie films are 2K scans, save 4K scans for Lawyer and Sheila, with the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Lawyer is looking really good. The rest of the films are here in 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers and they all also look fine, yet Sheila is the weakest of the five here for me and is slightly disappointing and I do not think it is just the way the film was lensed. Maybe it is because Movielab handled the developing and prints for the film, versus Lawyer and Hit!, with labwork and 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints. Technicolor even did the lab work on the rest, but no dye-transfer prints in the U.K., but possibly overseas and in the U.K. in particular.

All five films were issued in theatrical optical monophonic sound and are here in PCM 2.0 Mono lossless mixes that allow the films to sound as good as they likely ever will, though Halsy and Boys (made by Golden Harvest, whose recent Blu-ray upgrades to dozens of their own movies have not been sounding as good as one would wish) are the best sounding of the bunch. The restoration work overall is impressive and fans will not be disappointed.

To order import Blu-ray set, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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