Movies on DVD Review: The Wicker Man

 wicker_manI won’t be looking for a missing girl anytime soon…

Stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Eckland, and Britt Ekland. Directed by Robin Hardy.

Note: this is on the original 1973 version, not the 2006 remake.

Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) is a conservative Christian cop from the mainland (England) He’s probably the most conservative Christian in all of Great Britain. When he arrives on Summerisle, a small Scottish island community known for apple exportation, he is searching for a little girl named Rowan Morrison. The isle’s residents are far from happy to help, citing that they have never heard of the girl (including the purported mother). With pagan rituals surrounding him, he gets more and more irritated as he finds there may be a link between the upcoming May Day Festival and the little girl’s disappearance. At the end he finds that what he was investigating wasn’t what was going on at all.

My two cents: this movie is on an entirely different plane of existence.

The cover of the DVD uses the quote, “The ‘Citizen Kane’ of horror films.” That might be stretching it a little, but “The Wicker Man” is a movie that holds its own. From the opening music and dance rituals, to Britt Ekland seducing Woodward in song, to Christopher Lee’s Lord Summerisle, to the end (you know it’s coming but the how and why you have to see for yourself) this movie delivers. Haunting, mesmerizing, fantastical, horrific, and suspenseful, this is a movie I recommend seeing at least once.

The version I watched clocked in at 95 minutes. Most cuts of the film are at 88. Supposedly there is a 102 minute version available on videocassette which includes scenes prior to Howie getting to Summerisle, as well as confrontations with the people.

This DVD version (by Anchor Bay Entertainment) contains “The Wicker Man Enigma,” a documentary about the making of the film with Robin Hardy, Christopher Lee, Edward Woodward, and Roger Corman. This is worth watching for the trials and tribulations of the film getting released. Also included are TV spots, trailers, and a DVD Easter Egg of a video interview Robin Hardy and Christopher Lee by a Southern film critic during the movie’s initial theatrical run.

Of note the movie “Hot Fuzz” pays homage to this movie, as well as featuring its star Edward Woodward.

My grade: B+


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