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The Wicker Man
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When a young girl mysteriously disappears Police Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward of THE EQUALIZER) travels to a remote Scottish island to investigate. But this pastoral community led by the strange Lord Summerisle (a brilliant performance by the legendary Christopher Lee) is not what it seems as the devout Christian detective soon uncovers a secret society of wanton lust and pagan blasphemy. Can Howie now stop the cult s ultimate sacrifice before he himself comes face-to-face with the horror of THE WICKER MAN? Britt Ekland Diane Cilento and Ingrid Pitt co-star in this provocative shocker written by Anthony Shaffer (SLEUTH FRENZY) that fans and critics worldwide still consider a true cult classic and a modern horror masterpiece. This is the acclaimed U.S. theatrical version of THE WICKER MAN now fully restored from original vault materials for the first time ever. System Requirements:Running Time 88 Mins.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: HORROR Rating: R UPC: 013131478495 Manufacturer No: DV14784
- "The Wicker Man Enigma" featurette
- Talent bios
- TV spots
- Radio spots
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Earlier in 2013, it was announced that a print of a 94 minute version of the film was found and that this version had actually been prepared by the director for release in North American in the late 70's. While this version only keeps the bit of Howie going to church prior to his flight to the island in question, all of the events of the movie are in their proper order though there are bits here and there still missing out of this version. A full HD restoration of the 94 minute cut was prepared and released in a limited theatrical run as well as in a 3 disc deluxe British edition containing the 94 minute and 88 minute cuts in full HD as well as the 100 minute version in standard definition only. A huge documentary was included in addition to some nice interview extras on the main disc as well as a restoration comparison.
Lionsgate though for some reason decided in their infinite wisdom for the North American release to leave out the 2nd and 3rd discs from the Britsh set and only include the 1st "Final Cut" disc of the film containing the restored in HD 94 minute cut. So, if you were one of the lucky ones like me to get the Anchor Bay 2 disc set as it was limited to a run of only 50,000, make sure to hold onto that version due to Lionsgate deciding to not port the full UK edition to American shores.
How does the 94 minute cut work? Since I'm so familiar with the almost 100 minute extended version, I do sorely miss those extra scenes. However, the information contained in the mainland prologue section concerning Sgt. Howie is given throughout the main plot of the film but it does help set up his character a lot better. The other bits missing throughout the film don't really detract from the plot but once again, being so used to the long version, I realized when every little trim was not there. The movie though still works like gangbusters even in the 94 minute cut and since the scenes are in their proper order unlike the 88 minute original theatrical release, it's easy to follow what is going on with Sgt. Howie's strange interactions with the island's inhabitants during his search for the missing girl.
The picture quality overall is stupendous though some of the extra scenes included are of a rougher quality than the rest of the film (The "Gently, Johnny" sequence comes to mind). But this is the best that the film has ever looked and fans will be pleased with how much of a huge upgrade in picture quality the film has received for its HD debut. The audio is presented in the film's original 1 track mono in lossless audio. Extras contain interviews with various people talking about how much they love the film as well as the film's writer, a focus on the film's famous musical score and also a restoration comparison too.
If you have a region free blu-ray player, go ahead and import in the 3 disc British set as it's the truly definitive set for this amazing film that seems to keep getting better with age over 40 years since its original release. If you don't have access to a region free blu-ray player, then go ahead and get this set but also see if you can get one of the limited edition 2 disc Anchor Bay DVD sets so you can have both the 88 minute theatrical cut and almost 100 minute extended cut too. I have no idea why Lionsgate decided to do this with the North American blu-ray release and it's also a shame that the complete 102 minute version has still not been found and possibly at this point is unlikely that it will ever be. At least the film has been preserved in some digital fashion in both its DVD and new blu-ray releases so that future generations will be able to discover this film and get to see one of the greatest and most original films ever released.
"Wicker Man" is the type of film that will absolutely give a viewer nightmares. It concerns a police sergeant (Woodward) who responds to a missing child report on a remote Scottish island. The residents of Lord Summerisle's (Lee) quaint village uniformly deny the existence of 12-year-old Rowan Morrison (Cowper). The more Sgt. Howie investigates and bullies his way around, the weirder this tale gets.
Clearly, these folks are pagans who practice an ancient religion based on phallic worship. Lyrics to the many lovely folk songs performed by them throughout the story are incredibly bawdy, children dance naked in public, hedges are trimmed to tumescent member perfection and there's an elaborate May Pole ceremony due to culminate in ritual sacrifice. Howie's convinced its sacrificial lamb will be the missing child. He dons a giant-headed "Punch" costume and so-disguised leads the parade, all the time watchful for Rowan's appearance.
What awaits is the Wicker Man himself and an unforgettable ending. A superb film, indeed!
A totally unclothed Britt Ekland-- the writhing siren who sings through her bedroom wall to a mesmerized and nomally pious Howie. He responds to this irresistible spell by hugging his side of the wall while obviously aroused.
Cameo as the gardener by Aubrey Morris. Two years earlier he was "Deltoid" in Stanley Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 IMDb viewer poll rating.
(7.7) The Wicker Man (UK-1973) - Edward Woodward/Christopher Lee/Britt Ekland/Diane Cilento/Ingrid Pitt/Lindsay Kemp/Irene Sunters/Russell Waters/Gerry Cowper/Aubrey Morris
This movie will play with your head--you usually don't see this type of psychological horror with older films. (The best ones didn't really start until the 90s!) It is cultish without being ridiculous, beautifully creepy, and of course, the twist ending was delicious, even though I knew what was coming. My heart was racing at the end!
I am one of the nerds who listens to the commentary and special features. There is a short film on this DVD that interviews the actors, producers, etc., directly, and that was a real treat.
My only complaint would be that the sound seems.. off. Perhaps it's because of the era, but the entire film sounds muted from a technical standpoint, not an artistic one.
This was the perfect addition to my horror movie collection. Without gore, violence, and even sex, this is easily one of the most disturbing films I've ever come across. Take this home with you!