CineSavant Column

Tuesday August 8, 2023



The generous Joe Dante circulated this hot short subject from Eric Lavoie, who says it received a good reaction at last week’s Fantasia festival.

The entertaining subject is the Wilhelm Scream, the ever-present audio scream that everyone recognizes. NPR had a radio item on it a couple of weeks back, playing the entire recording session. The creative Mr. Lavoie has made a 7-minute short subject that shows the vocal effect’s initial use, a second film where it was attributed to a bit character named ‘Wilhelm,’ and numerous re-uses in films, especially after it was discovered by the Star Wars generation.

It’s The Scream That Wouldn’t End. It finishes with some examples where it doesn’t belong. A manipulated image of Sheb Wooley, the actor who voiced the original scream, serves as the short subject’s host.



The passing of director William Friedkin made us think of when we worked with him on DVD Blu-ray projects …

We hope to be reviewing Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A. soon, as it contains an extended making of documentary with some of our best work — intercutting feature film clips with extensive, not-before-seen video from the set. The bountiful BTS coverage enabled us to edit a kind of ‘exploded’ car chase scene.

We also edited several pieces for the DVD of Friedkin’s The Hunted from 2003 . . . but the most fun we had was on Friedkin’s first personally curated Blu-ray release of The French Connection.  My producer organized a great two-camera shoot for Anatomy of a Chase, with Friedkin taking his producer Philip D’Antoni back to Brooklyn to retrace the chase scene, with Randy Jurgensen driving the car. Friedkin’s energy in the piece is infectious. He dares D’Antoni to run up the steel ‘El’ stairway, making fun of his producer’s slower pace.

On the same 2009 disc is the now-obsolete extra in which Friedkin explained his strange revsionary method to completely change the film’s color. It wasn’t well received at the time and looks even weirder now, but the director touts his method with more of his signature attitude, unbridled enthusiasm. I’m told that he tried to get Barbra Streisand to apply his ‘oversaturated, de-focused’ color technique to her movie Yentl.

He was certainly an unforgettable artist, a true original.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson