Awfully well put together, The Exorcist still has a few shock moments--though one of them, the best, has been reinserted, having been chopped from the original release. But too many of the characters--Fr. Karras (Jason Miller), in particular--are so sketchily developed that it's hard to think of them as more than conveniences; one just doesn't feel for them. Why the Devil--not just a demon, it's emphasized--would possess a 12-year-old girl is a question that the script itself quite reasonably asks but doesn't answer. Even more puzzling is why the Devil then acts so pusillanimously. Well, OK, special effects weren't then what they are now, but still. A far superior though far less sensational movie on the same general theme is The Seventh Victim (1943). See it. One of The Exorcists strongest elements is the cobbled together soundtrack of electronic and advanced mid-twentieth-century classical music; director Friedkin likes this sort of thing and makes it fit his mise en scene beautifully. --Ray Olson

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