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The Exorcist (1973): Theatrical Cut Reconstruction

32 Replies, 23770 Views

Project Info
Well, guys, except for Reservoir Dogs, here's my last full custom BD on the horizon...

The Exorcist (1973), despite being almost universally recognized as a seminal horror classic, had its BD release fairly radically tweaked. Displaced by a Director's Cut, which stuffs in unnecessary footage and adds new digital effects, the award-winning 1973 Theatrical Cut was relegated to a bonus disc. Even so, the Theatrical Cut still suffered from: 1) a yellow-tinted opening in Iraq; 2) very strongly blue tinted Exorcism scenes; 3) a remaining digital tweak in a climactic scene; and 4) a weak and revisionist 5.1 mix.

This release addresses all those issues. For the most part, the transfer actually looks excellent, with color timing seemingly representative of the style in the 70s. Extensive shot-by-shot color correction had to be employed for the aforementioned sequences; they were adjusted to resemble the 1997 DVD, which predates any tweaks. The color timing of the 1997 DVD was corroborated by 35mm clips of The Exorcist contained in the 1980s documentary, "Terror in the Aisles," preserved in HD on the Universal BD of Halloween II; this documentary was also the source to patch in the original "jump cut" in Fr. Karras's climactic scene. I reinstated the original 1973 WB logo that would have been seen before the film in cinemas and also matted the whole film to the correct theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85.

Aurally, there are two options. The primary option (Track 1) is the 1979 70mm, which was the basis for most pre-remix home video releases, presented in 5.1 from the 1997 Full Screen DVD. The second option (Track 2) is the 1973 mono mix, only available in a rare Japanese LD (ripped by Anctufaalb). Because it's lower quality and I had to sync this manually without a video reference, I wasn't particularly comfortable putting it as the preservation's primary audio.

Note that this project is distinct from Dr. Sapirstein's previously released project and borrows no elements from that release.

Thanks to:
  • Jonno - for providing the proper 1973 vintage WB logo in HD
  • Anctufaalb - for preserving the rare mono mix
  • Doombot - for encoding the 5.1 70mm mix into DTS-HD
  • Chewtobacca - for additional advice and support
Video
  • US BD - several sequences color-corrected
  • "Terror in the Aisles" Bonus Feature on US Halloween II BD - used for one shot digitally altered on the US BD
     
Audio
  • 5.1 DTS-HD - 1979 70mm Reissue Audio (from 1997 FS DVD)
  • 1.0 LPCM - 1973 Theatrical Mix (from rare JP LD)
     
Screenshots
US BD
[Image: 1_BD.png]
Theatrical Cut Reconstruction
[Image: 1.png]

US BD
[Image: 2_BD.png]
Theatrical Cut Reconstruction
[Image: 2.png]

US BD
[Image: 3_BD.png]
Theatrical Cut Reconstruction
[Image: 3.png]

US BD
[Image: 4_BD.png]
Theatrical Cut Reconstruction
[Image: 4.png]

US BD
[Image: 5_BD.png]
Theatrical Cut Reconstruction
[Image: 5.png]

US BD
[Image: 6_BD.png]
Theatrical Cut Reconstruction
[Image: 6.png]

US BD
[Image: 7_BD.png]
Theatrical Cut Reconstruction
[Image: 7.png]

Project Status
Unfortunately, some of the tinted scenes were pretty far gone and tested my limits as a color grader. The mono LD audio, likewise, was hard to sync without a video reference to go by, and I also had to patch in some short sections with the 70mm audio. I may have another go at this release, but not for another few months.

In the meantime, hope you enjoy V1 of The Exorcist: Theatrical Cut Reconstruction. Smile (This project is frame-accurate with the commercial Theatrical BD, so you can sync any audio track from there to this.)

Fourteenth project completed and released!

Final Product
1080p BD-Compatible MKV, will fit on a BD50
Wow, nice! I can recapture the mono audio /with/ video if you'd like. Let me know.
Looks like another good one Falcon
(2017-06-19, 08:29 PM)AntcuFaalb Wrote: Wow, nice! I can recapture the mono audio /with/ video if you'd like. Let me know.

That would be great. If you do recapture it, please copy me in. I'm helping Falcon out with audio work and will try to pitch in if there's a v2 of the mono.
(This post was last modified: 2017-06-20, 03:59 PM by Chewtobacca.)
(2017-06-20, 03:58 PM)Chewtobacca Wrote: That would be great. If you do recapture it, please copy me in. I'm helping Falcon out with audio work and will try to pitch in if there's a v2 of the mono.
K, I definitely will. There's a guy nearby selling a Pioneer VP-1000 which is often regarded as putting out the best analog sound from LD, so I'm going to try to grab that first. If I don't get it I'll use my Sylvania VP-7200 which is the next best thing.

Guys… weird question. Can someone review my mono track and tell me if the left and right channels are identical?

If not, can we average them to reduce noise? They should be 100% in sync.
Does anybody know which mix this is? http://www.lddb.com/laserdisc/12947/PILF...orcist-The

It's stated to be pure stereo rather than matrix surround, but LDDb listings aren't always correct…

Edit: The cover just says STEREO: http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/LxkAAOxyWm...-l1600.jpg
(This post was last modified: 2017-06-20, 07:30 PM by AntcuFaalb.)
(2017-06-20, 07:24 PM)AntcuFaalb Wrote: Guys… weird question. Can someone review my mono track and tell me if the left and right channels are identical?

While I'm not the biggest audio expert, I've done this with a few mono tracks and will gladly take a look.

Quote:If not, can we average them to reduce noise? They should be 100% in sync.

I'd be interested in knowing that too. The track with which I was experimenting turned out to be very narrow stereo and had to be abandoned for that reason.
(This post was last modified: 2017-06-20, 09:14 PM by Chewtobacca.)
Great project guys and thanks for putting it together. The Exorcist is one of my favourites and any kind of edit/restoration gets my interest.

Unfortunately I don't have a BD writer or the HDD space to grab this release yet. So I was thinking of putting together the video from the 1997 DVD with the various audio tracks available. Is anyone able to upload the mono track from this release as a standalone file? Thanks.
I recommend fans watch the full-screen DVD, I think it's partially opened and looks good.
Thank you!! Awesome work. Where can I find this version?

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