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William Peter Blatty On The Exorcist. From…

William Peter Blatty On The Exorcist. From Novel To Film.

by William Peter Blatty

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This book contains the first draft of the screenplay to the movie, as well as a portion of the script with scene settings. The most important parts of this volume are the Introduction and Why Changes Were Made in the Screenplay. Blatty gives some biographical material on himself and on the genesis and production of the novel. He also includes information on the way the film adaptation was birthed. I found this to be a fascinating addition to the novel. Fans of the movie might be so interested in these details. There are some excellent film production photos (b&w only). Blatty writes that he thought he was writing a book which would promote faith in the goodness of humanity by showing how a person could sacrifice their life for another, even if that person (the person possessed) were shown to be physically degraded beyond all human measure of known spiritual oppresion.
Blatty also writes that there were forces which many times almost stopped the film (not the book) from being made. He talks about how he wanted to have Jane Fonda play the role of the mother but she “didn’t believe in magic.” This happened in 1973. Fonda had earlier gone to Hanoi, where the Hanoi Hilton was located, and placed her celebrity at the service of a regime which was in the process of torturing and killing over one hundred US military prisoners. Many memoirs of these US POWs imply that evil was present during these ‘interrogation sessions.’ Apparently, Fonda not only didn't believe in magic, she couldn't sense the presence evil. Shirley MacLaine provided inspiration for the character dialogue of the non-believing mother. Overall, these two short essays are wonderful to read. The way the studios routinely tried to swindle writers, among others, (Warner in this case) is always good fun. Blatty didn’t like when audiences thought that ‘evil won’ (Karras dying) by his ending. That may not have been his intent but cinematically that was a legitimate conclusion. It was my own as well. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Dec 1, 2011 |
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