Wicker Man

Wicker Man

3.9 17
Director: Robin Hardy

Cast: Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento

     
 

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Anchor Bay released two versions of the 1974 British cult horror favorite The Wicker Man on DVD; the special edition comes in a wooden keep-case. The more inexpensive "theatrical version" contains a 39-minute documentary of "making of" interviews with director Robin Hardy, producer Peter Snell, writer Anthony Shaffer, filmmaker Roger Corman, stars ChristopherSee more details below

Overview

Anchor Bay released two versions of the 1974 British cult horror favorite The Wicker Man on DVD; the special edition comes in a wooden keep-case. The more inexpensive "theatrical version" contains a 39-minute documentary of "making of" interviews with director Robin Hardy, producer Peter Snell, writer Anthony Shaffer, filmmaker Roger Corman, stars Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward, and anybody else alive who can remember anything about the production. Actress Ingrid Pitt, who plays the creepy librarian of the conspiratorially demented island that traps arrogant lawman Sgt. Neil Howie (Woodward, recalls the harsh filming conditions on the remote Scottish island, and writer Shaffer (Sleuth) describes how the intention was to create an "anti-horror" film to compete, on a budget, with Hammer Films (Lee admits with a laugh that he was paid nothing for his performance). Lengthy text biographies are included, as well as the theatrical, TV, and radio spots (re-recorded for the disc).

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
A subtle, intelligent British thriller that has attained cult status over the years, director Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man is more creepy than terrifying, doling out its frights with a spare but expert hand. It benefits from a superb performance by Edward Woodward as a repressed, devoutly Christian police detective who arrives on an idyllic Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl. The inspector is immediately rattled by the friendly but duplicitous islanders, who engage in casual nudity and wanton sex under the free-spirited rule of the foppish and eccentric Lord Summerisle (memorably played by Hammer horror icon Christopher Lee). When Woodward discovers that the natives are pagans, his disapproval turns to fear and outrage as he begins to suspect that the missing girl might have been used as a human sacrifice. Eschewing the usual horror film conventions, almost all of The Wicker Man takes place outdoors under sunny spring skies as the islanders prepare for their May Day celebrations. Hardy imbues the bucolic goings-on -- folk song sing-alongs, a maypole dance performed by children -- with an ever-increasing sense of menace. The deeper terror is psychological, though, as Woodward’s inspector is confronted with a heathenism against which his faith provides no bulwark. We feel the inspector’s anguish as he struggles to subdue his physical desire when the innkeeper’s luscious daughter (Britt Ekland) tries to tempt him by dancing naked outside his room. It is Woodward’s magnificent portrayal of this self-righteous but well-meaning man that makes The Wicker Man’s dark and unexpected ending truly devastating. Hacked down to 87 minutes for its initial release, the film was a theatrical failure. The DVD presents the film, fully restored from original vault materials, in its original 102-minute version.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
The Wicker Man was a labor of love for director Robin Hardy, screenwriter Anthony Shaffer, and producer and co-star Christopher Lee; eager to see the project to fruition, they worked with a low budget, a short shooting schedule, and a studio on the verge of bankruptcy (that did in fact go under shortly after the film was completed). The movie was trundled into theaters in truncated form as a B-grade horror flick, cutting the 102-minute original version to 87 minutes for most theatrical screenings. This treatment must have been heartbreaking for the creative team, since The Wicker Man scarcely qualifies as a horror film (and was marketed as one purely due to Lee's involvement), and it remains one of the most unusual, thoughtful, and intelligent suspense thrillers of the 1970s. Edward Woodward, a dozen years before he rose to fame in America as the star of the TV series The Equalizer, is superb as Sgt. Howie, and Lee, who never made a secret of his desire for more intelligent and substantive roles after achieving international renown in Hammer's Dracula series, gives one of his finest performances as Lord Summerisle; with regal intelligence and sharp wit, his presence is so strong that one forgets that he's not on screen very long. Shaffer's screenplay boasts the same psychological intrigue and intelligent wit that he brought to his earlier scripts for Frenzy and Sleuth (both 1972). While repeated viewings allow one to see the clues dropped along the way, the audacious conclusion rarely fails to startle and surprise. While The Wicker Man is an absorbing entertainment even in its edited form, it's much better (and feels no longer) in its full-length cut -- which, thankfully, is available on home video, allowing renters to see the film at better advantage than the tiny number who caught it in its aborted initial release.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/21/2001
UPC:
0013131142297
Original Release:
1973
Rating:
R
Source:
Starz / Anchor Bay
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, stereo]
Time:
1:28:00

Special Features

Widescreen 1.85:1 presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs; interviews with stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee and Ingrid Pitt, director Robin Hardy, producer Peter Snell, writer Anthony Shaffer, editor Eric Boyd-Perkins, art director Seamus Flannery, assistant director Jake Wright, U.S. distributor John Simon, and filmmaker Roger Corman; theatrical trailer; TV spot; radio spots; talent bios.

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Edward Woodward Sergeant Howie
Britt Ekland Willow
Diane Cilento Miss Rose
Ingrid Pitt Librarian
Christopher Lee Lord Summerisle
Roy Boyd Broome
Aubrey Morris Old Gardener,Gravedigger
Irene Sunters May Morrison
Walter Carr Schoolmaster
Irene Summers May Morrison
Lorraine Peters Girl on grave
Richard Wren Ash Buchanan
Elizabeth Sinclair Villager on Summerisle
John Sharp Doctor Ewan
Ian Wilson Communicant
Russell Waters Harbour Master
John Young Fishmonger
Ian Campbell Oak
Ross Campbell Communicant
Michael Cole Musician
Juliet Cadzow Villager on Summerisle
Peter Brewis Musician
Lesley Mackie Daisy
Charles Kearney Butcher
Lindsay Kemp Alder MacGregor
Kevin Collins Old Fisherman
Geraldine Cowper Rowan Morrison
John Hallam Police Constable McTaggart
Donald Eccles T.H. Lennox
Myra Forsyth Mrs. Grimmond

Technical Credits
Robin Hardy Director
Eric Boyd-Perkins Editor
James Devis Camera Operator
Seamus Flannery Art Director
Paul Giovanni Score Composer
Stewart Hopps Choreography
Ted Morley Production Manager
W.T. Partleton Makeup
Anthony Shaffer Screenwriter
Peter Snell Producer
Harry Waxman Cinematographer
Jake Wright Asst. Director
Sue Yelland Costumes/Costume Designer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter Selections
1. Program Start/Main Titles [3:16]
2. Arrival [4:18]
3. May Morrison's Daughter [2:53]
4. The Inn [3:22]
5. Service With A Smile [2:49]
6. A Prayer For The Righteous [1:39]
7. Siren's Song [3:57]
8. Round The Maypole [2:40]
9. Primary Education [6:40]
10. Blasphemy [2:20]
11. Asserting Authority [3:43]
12. Rites Of Fertility [1:37]
13. Lord Summerisle [6:36]
14. Exhumation [4:04]
15. Proof [1:32]
16. Disturbing Research [2:17]
17. Engine Trouble [2:10]
18. May Day Preparations [3:18]
19. The Search [3:40]
20. Hand Of Glory [1:51]
21. Let The Festivities Begin [2:36]
22. "Chop, chop, chop..." [2:28]
23. Innocent Victim [5:29]
24. King For A Day [4:55]
25. The Wicker Man [6:04]
26. End Credits [1:03]

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