Top positive review
Modern Horror Classic, Presented on the Cheap
on September 13, 2017
To be clear: this review does not concentrate on the movie itself, which, I concede, was pathbreaking in 1973 and still holds up for Halloween. Instead, my focus is on this particular edition.
You get what you pay for. At this writing Amazon offers this edition at about eight bucks: very economical. What did I get at this price? The movie itself in good quality video, modest but effective stereo. (The Blu-Ray version, I imagine, would present a much denser and crisper image; I doubt, however, that the colors would be more striking, since Friedkin, his cinematographer and production designer, decided on a more muted palette to start with. "The Director's Cut" refers to an additional 10-15 minutes that Friedkin edited out of the movie's first release (probably to keep the running time closer to the two-hour mark, thus helping Warner Bros. sell more tickets every day). What of the extra features? In THIS edition—not others—most of what you get is a series of re-relase trailers, TV, and radio promos. How much you adore these will depend on how much you love hearing, over and again, that this is "the scariest movie ever made." (I disagree, but your mileage may vary.) The principal special feature, which I was most looking forward to, was the director's commentary, voiced over the movie. This, to put it mildly, is a disappointment. Having seen and heard other interviews with Friedkin, I know that he can be articulate and perceptive. Here, for some reason, he simply narrates the story we are seeing onscreen. There are practically no insights into the film's production, precious little on its background, and few comments on the acting, (I do agree with him that the quiet, subtle "interrogation" of Ellen Burstyn's character by Lee Cobb's is a highlight of the film.) It would be unfair to accuse Friedkin of phoning in this commentary. He sounds, not bored, but merely redundant.
So … if all you want is the basic, slightly extended version, with a bland frill at a low price, this should do the job. Be prepared for little more.