“Atrocious…Horrifying”

Last night renowned French Connection cinematographer Owen Roizman trashed William Friedkin‘s bleachy, grain-heavy Blu-ray transfer of his 1971 Oscar-winning film, which many DVD and Blu-ray aficionados have already savagely dismissed. Roizman called the transfer “atrocious,” “emasculated” and “horrifying.” He said that he “wasn’t consulted” by Freidkin and he “certainly wants to wash my hands of having had anything to do with [it].”


(l. ro.) Owen Roizman, frame capture from French Connection Blu-ray, William Friedkin.

Roizman was speaking to Aaron Aradillas on a blog-radio show called “Back By Midnight.” Thanks to Some Came Running‘s Glenn Kenny for the tip-off.

Roizman “had only heard about the new Blu-ray version [of The French Connection] when Aaron was booking his appearance,” Kenny informs. “He went out and bought a Blu-ray player and the disc and did not at all like what he saw.”

I transcribed some of what Roizman said so here’s a fuller version: “Billy [Friedkin] for some reason decided to do this on his own. I wasn’t consulted. I was appalled by it. I don’t know what Billy was thinking. It’s not the film that I shot, and I certainly want to to wash my hands of having had anything to do with this transfer, which I feel is atrocious.”

He later called it an “emasculated” and “horrifying” transfer, and said “it would be a travesty to see The Exorcist [which Roizman also shot] transferred in this fashion.”

Here’s a link to the show. Here’s a poorly recorded mp3 of Roizman’s comments. I’ve also pasted an embed code below if you want to listen to the whole show but beware — Aradillas is an undisciplined interviewer who meanders all over the place and even forgets to ask Roizman about the TFC Blu-ray issue. Roizman finally has to prompt him.