In Dungeons & Dragons, 3rd Edition, the Sorcerer is a new character class. The only 3e class actually new to the game as a whole, the sorcerer has much in common with the wizard. The two classes draw upon the same list of spells, and have similar lousy combat skills. However, where the wizard can learn any spell he likes, the sorcerer is stuck with a certain set of spells embedded in his mind, which he can extend over time, but never alter once set. Why take such a restriction? Because sorcerers can cast more spells a day than a wizard, and choose what spell to cast on the spur of the moment. The only restriction on this skill is that the spells slots are graded according to level, and if you spent your 3rd level slot already today, there's no fireball this evening.

1977 film based on the 1955 film the Wages of Fear, which was in turn based on the 1953 novel "Le Salaire de la peur" by Georges Arnaud. Several men are offered a huge sum of money to transport an extremely unstable explosive, nitroglycerine, through the jungles of South America in barely functioning trucks. The explosives are desperatly needed to extinguish a fire at a remote oil rig, but that piece of the plot is practically irelevant.

The film really shines in the tension of the cast as they navigate seemingly impossible roads in huge old trucks. Tension crackles through the entire film as brakes give out, and trucks fall over. This is one of those movies that - if you're so equipped - makes your testicles pull up in your throat and your knuckles go white when a truck barrels it's way over a rope bridge and around narrow roads cut in the side of cliffs. The stunt drivers in this movie did not get paid enough money, and I remaine convinced that someone died during production.

This film is one of Roy Scheiders most unsung works. His tense portrayal of a man willing to do anything, while still respectively fearful of death sells the emotion and draws you in to a very real sympathy with the main characters. Also features an amusing scene where a confused native mistakes one of the trucks for a demon and attampts to fight and or scare it off with a spear and aggresive shouting.

I won't add much to Roninspoon's writeup on this superb movie, except:

The movie was directed by William Friedkin, his first film after The Exorcist.

The score is by Tangerine Dream, and contributes strongly to the otherworldly mood. Friedkin said that had he heard them earlier, he would have asked them instead of Mike Oldfield to score The Exorcist.

The DVD is from Universal Studios, catalog number 20420. Extra features are minimal: Bios of the cast and crew, and the theatrical trailer. Aspect ratio is the execrable 1.33:1, ie it's been pan & scanned. Film transfer is of acceptable quality but not excellent. Single layer DVD.

Nevertheless, this is one of the most gripping films I have ever seen. The squalor and horror that these men fled to (and among which the locals live their entire lives) is palpable, and the suspense is truly of white-knuckle intensity, and relentless. Well worth the money.

A sorcerer is a practitioner of sorcery i.e. magic. The term is usually used to describe a magician primarily concerned with divination and communing with, or even controlling, spirits.

The term "sorcerer" usually has a slightly negative connotation. Not necessarily a plainly evil being such as a warlock, there is usually the sense that a sorcerer is meddling with sinister forces more powerful than himself (e.g. Goethe's "Sorcerer's apprentice").

The word "sorcerer" has gender, the female version being sorceress.

Other terms for magic users are:

Sorcerer, made by William Friedkin in 1977 after his triumphs and numerous awards for both The French Connection and The Exorcist, was his own Apocalypse Now: a film that went over budget and took three times as long to film as originally planned, but one denied Apocalypse's subsequent fame, notoriety, and audience interest.

A remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages of Fear, Sorcerer tells the story of four men, all wanted criminals, who flee to a nameless Third World country to escape punishment, imprisonment, torture, or death. When a devastating oil rig explosion offers the chance to make some big money very quickly (they have to transport old crates of leaking nitroglycerine over 200 miles of treacherous mountain road), each sees a chance to get out of this hell-hole country and forge a new life elsewhere, far from their regrets and old enemies.

Screenwriter Walon Green (who co-wrote The Wild Bunch with Sam Peckinpah) foregoes a script filled with meaningful dialogue and concentrates instead on expressionistic imagery to tell large chunks of the story. This, coupled with Friedkin's flair for jittery realism, gives Sorcerer an effective and gritty documentary feel.

I greatly admire both Sorcerer and The Wages Of Fear, but find my preference leaning toward Friedkin's film, if for no other reason because Sorcerer takes the time to establish these men in their previous lives so the viewer can have some sense of what they've been forced to abandon. Sorcerer possesses emotional layers where Wages opts for the coldly intellectual, and though both films are potentially devastating to the viewer, Sorcerer remains the more humane and accessible of the two.

Movie Information

Release Date: 1977
Running Time: 121 minutes
Rating: PG
Director: William Friedkin
Writers: Walon Green (screenplay), Georges Arnaud (1953 novel Le Salaire de la Peur)

Roy Scheider: Scanlon/Dominguez
Bruno Cremer: Victor Manzon/Serrano
Francisco Rabal: Nilo
Amidou: Kassem/Martinez
Ramon Bieri: Corlette
Peter Capell: Lartigue
Karl John: Marquez
Frederick Ledebur: Carlos
Chico Martinez: Bobby Del Rios
Joe Spinell: Spider
Rosario Almontes: Agrippa
Richard Holley: Billy White
Anne-Marie Deschott: Blanche
Jean-Luc Bideau: Pascal
Jacques Francois: Lefevre

Sor"cer*er (?), n. [Cf. F. sorcier. See Sorcery.]

A conjurer; an enchanter; a magician.


Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers. Ex. vii. 11.


© Webster 1913.

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