From 11:30 am to 1:30 pm I took part in a press luncheon/schmooze session at Manhattan’s Essex hotel for the forthcoming Bluray of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (due 10.5). It was pouring outside and the Bluray hadn’t been sent out (it won’t be ready until 9.30), but it was very cool to chill and shoot the shit with Exorcist writer-producer William Peter Blatty, dp Owen Roizman, costar Linda Blair and sound designer Chris Newman.

Where was Friedkin? Upstairs and hanging around (he dropped by for a quick hello and a photo-pose with Blatty) but he didn’t sit down for whatever reason.

I especially enjoyed watching the first 30 or so minutes of the Exorcist Bluray on a large plasma screen. I haven’t seen it look this good since I forget when, and I just like watching first-rate movies under first-rate conditions. The Exorcist Bluray looked extra-cool, I thought, because it was shown through a 240hz frame-rate converter, which lent an almost video-like clarity to the image.

There’s a special digital screening of the film happening tomorrow night at MOMA.

The Exorcist director William Friedkin, producer-author William Peter Blatty — Exorcist Bluray press day, Hotel Essex, 9.28, 1:05 pm.

Exrocist costar Linda Blair, director of photography Owen Roizman.

A fantasy painting of Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby inside the Hotel Essex. The weird part is that the painting obviously depicts Redford’s hair as blond and swept back, despite the fact that his hair was dyed brown and close-cropped for the film.