Tuesday, March 20, 2007
After years of being out of circulation, William Friedkin's disturbing 1980 film CRUISING is apparently ready to hit the streets again. The Internet is being flooded with reports that the film will play at Cannes this summer and will then arrive on a fully loaded special edition DVD. The disc is being supervised by Friedkin and will feature a commentary, documentary and possibly up to 45 minutes of deleted footage.
No word yet on whether Karen Allen participated in the documentary but Al Pacino absolutely did not.
Pacino has long been silent on CRUISING and I can't say that I really blame him, as the film Friedkin delivered was not necessarily the one Pacino signed up for. The darkly ambiguous CRUISING is one of the most mysterious American films ever made and while it was initially a critical and commercial disaster, the last five years or so has seen a sharp critical turnaround. After feature stories in publications like Britain's SIGHT AND SOUND it has been reported that CRUISING has become the most requested unreleased dvd on the market.
At the dark heart of CRUISING sits an idea that has always fascinated Friedkin, that being a transference of evil. It is a subject he has explored in films ranging from THE EXORCIST, TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA and JADE. To call CRUISING ambiguos is an understatement, it is a serial killer film where everyone is in their own way the murderer.
CRUISING is a flawed film but it is the kind of flawed film that only a great director can make. It packs a huge wallop and in the almost two decades since I first saw it I have never been able to shake its strange and disquieting effect. It is a unique American film by one of our most important directors with one of the great performances by our finest actor, it is long overdue for a DVD release.
I can't wait to hear the Cannes report later this year.