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‘French Connection’ Lensman: ‘I Was Appalled’ By Director Billy Friedkin’s Hi-Def Disc

Billy (above): One ‘French’ director can’t be wrong (can, he?).

Billy (above): One ‘French’ director can’t be wrong. (Or can he?)

Call it The French Dis-Connection.

Last week on Back By Midnight, French Connection cinema- tographer Owen Roizman let loose on director William Friedkin – who won an Oscar for the 1971 flick starring Gene Hackman.

Owen’s gripe? That Billy’s new Blu-ray transfer of the film is an abomination.

“Billy, for some reason, decided to do this on his own. I never got consulted at all. So when I saw it for the first time the other day . . . I was appalled,” Owen, 72, told host Aaron Aradillas.

CAPTIONS: “I NEVER would have done something like that,” Owen (above) tells us of the new Blu-ray.

“I NEVER would have done something like that,” Owen (above) tells us of the just-released Blu-ray.

“I don’t know what Billy was thinking. This is not the film that I shot. And I certainly want to wash my hands of anything to do with that Blu-ray transfer,” added Owen, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work on The French Connection, as well as on Friedkin’s The Exorcist, and on Network, Tootsie and Wyatt Earp. “To me, it’s atrocious.”

But leave it to Billy to have the last word in the feud (thus far).

“The Blu-ray of The French Connection is the very best print ever made of it. And I believe that The Exorcist will be as well. And any of the other films of mine that I make in Blu-ray,” the director, 73, tells Aaron on this week’s show.

“Mr. Roizman had nothing to do with the printing process of The Exorcist. Or the DVD of The Exorcist. But I’ve never heard him complain about them. Nor has he ever complained to me personally about the Blu-ray of The French Connection.french-connection-blu-ray2

“The fact that he says he doesn’t like it is his opinion. But he hap- pens to be wrong.”

Blu-ray is among the latest tech- nologies used for transferring film to disc. Though they’re the same size as standard CDs and DVDs, Blu-ray discs are written (and read) with a “blue laser” that sits closer to the disc and uses a higher wavelength. The result is an arguably higher definition picture.

To hear Owen’s full interview, click here.

To hear Billy’s full interview, click here.