83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
Stunning, an absolute must!!
, January 22, 2002
This review is from: The Wicker Man (Limited Edition) (DVD)
This is a POWERHOUSE of a movie that will blow your mind!!!
It is listed as a horror film, when actually it is SO MUCH MORE. If one classify the genre, I would say Mystery.
It begins with an anonymous letter to the Scottish Constable ( Edward Woodward of Equilizer fame) telling of Summer Isle. A local girl is missing and none of the villagers seems to show any interest. Flying to the small Isle, Woodward arrives just before Beltane, the pagan May Day Festivals and the find the Island completely immersed in the Pagan ways of Auld. Head of the Isle is Lord Summerisle (British horror legend Christopher Lee - Dracula for Hammer Films - in his favourite performance), the leader of his pagan island, and it is clear he not only is aware of the villagers beliefs, he encourages them!
Slowly, Woodward comes to believe the girl is being held for Sacrifice on May Day as he races to save her.
Brilliant performance from Britt Eckland (former Mrs. Peter Sellers and one of the great beauties of her time - * though most of the nude shots are not her since she was pregnant at the time) Hammer horror actress Ingrid Pitt and Diane Cilento (the first Mrs. Sean Connery, mother of Jason) contribute to the eerie feel.
The movie portrays pagan beliefs in an unHollywood style, that goes for substance and facts, rather than sensationalism. The scenery is beautiful and the music written for the film is haunting.
The film faced many production problems, to being passed through several production companies, a lot of lost footage from the film editor - a devoutly religious man who thought is sinful to be filming this and was systematically destroying as much as he could, and indifferent reediting by Roger Corman, and then nearly dying in bad handly in the theatres. Was not seen for nearly two decades, and the version in existence was Corman's poorly edited one, missing over 20 minutes of the 101 minute original verson.
I spent years and year trying to track down a copy, and finally for a short time news was good. The director found that he had an original copy still in his position. This was released the VHS - first time the 101 version had been seen in nearly two decades!! Shortly after, it was pulled from the shelves. Corman's version ( a nice companion piece so it was made of a lot of out takes) came out for a spell.
So I am delighted to see this one on DVD and protected for all time.
Warning: some flashes of Eckland and her stand-in nude, and people of a very religious nature will not like the content. Otherwise, this is one fabulous knock out of a film.
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