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The Wicker Man [DVD]


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Watch The Wicker Man (The Final Cut) [1973] instantly from £6.99 with Amazon Instant Video
Also available to rent on DVD from LOVEFiLM By Post

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Product details

  • Actors: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt
  • Directors: Robin Hardy
  • Producers: Peter Snell
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Optimum Home Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Oct. 2006
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HN31KG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,608 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Cult horror classic in which devout Christian policeman Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) finds himself summoned to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a child. On arrival, Howie finds himself increasingly isolated and humiliated by the actions of the island's community, who belong to a bizarre pagan cult led by the charming Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee). As preparations for a sinister ritual celebration reach fever pitch, Howie, whilst trying to fend off the advances of the local landlord's daughter Willow (Britt Ekland), begins to suspect what role the islanders intend him to play.

From Amazon.co.uk

It must be stressed that, despite the fact that it was produced in 1973 and stars Christopher Lee, The Wicker Man is not a Hammer Horror film. There is no blood, very little gore and the titular Wicker Man is not a monster made out of sticks that runs around killing people by weaving them into raffia work. Edward Woodward plays Sergeant Howie, a virginal, Christian policeman sent from the Scottish mainland to investigate the disappearance of a young girl on the remote island of Summerisle.

The intelligent script by Anthony Schaffer, who also wrote the detective mystery Sleuth (a film with which The Wicker Man shares many traits), derives its horror from the increasing isolation, confusion and humiliation experienced by the naïve Howie as he encounters the island community's hostility and sexual pagan rituals, manifested most immediately in the enthusiastic advances of local landlord's daughter Willow (Britt Ekland). Howie's intriguing search, made all the more authentic by the film's atmospheric locations and folkish soundtrack, gradually takes us deeper and deeper into the bizarre pagan community living under the guidance of the charming Laird (Lee, minus fangs) as the film builds to a terrifying climax with a twist to rival that of The Sixth Sense or Fight Club. --Paul Philpott

On the DVD: The Wicker Man can finally be seen in its glorious entirety on DVD, thanks to the restoration of some 15 minutes of previously lost material. Since the original negative long ago disappeared (apparently dumped beneath the M3 motorway) the picture quality for the added scenes is dubious, but what's much more important is the regained richness in the depiction of Summerisle's society (including a wonderful deflowering ritual set to music) and the added depth to Howie's character. Almost redundantly this excellent two-disc package provides the butchered theatrical cut as well, which comes with a good new documentary explaining both the genesis of the film and its turbulent history. Christopher Lee and director Robin Hardy pop up in an archival interview from the 1970s and are also reunited with Edward Woodward in the brand-new and first-rate commentary track for the director's cut: Lee in particular remains passionate about the movie and still angry about its shabby treatment. Both versions of the film are widescreen 1.85:1; the theatrical cut is in remastered Dolby 5.1, but the director's cut remains in mono. --Mark Walker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 89 people found the following review helpful By pattic on 7 Oct. 2006
Format: DVD
I won't bother reviewing the film itself, as I'm sure most of you reading this are already fans, so I'll just stick to describing this new 3-disc release.

As many of you probably know, the film was considered too long for a commercial release by the typically clueless studio execs of the time, and was summarily hacked-down by about 15 minutes. In a depressing turn of events, the original negative of the film was lost, leaving no high quality method of restoring the missing footage.

Luckily for us, they were able to clip the missing footage into the main print, via the only full, unedited version in existence...a print owned by Roger Corman, the American king of exploitation pictures no less!

The quality of the missing scenes is not nearly as good as the rest of the film, making a list of "restored scenes" entirely unnecessary (you'll be able to tell), but it's probably the best we will ever get.

The package contains both the edited and newly restored versions of the film. The edited theatrical version has a very good transfer and 5.1 dolby sound mix. The Director's cut is presented in the aforementioned spotty video and mono audio.

The excellent commentary from the previous U.K. version is also included here (even if Christopher Lee comes off a bit cranky), as well as the original 35 minute featurette "The Wicker Man Enigma".

What's new is the freshly produced 60 minute documentary hosted by Mark Kermode. It's a wonderful and informative documentary, that suprisingly covers mostly different ground than the "Wicker Man Enigma", paying more attention to the genesis of the project and it's filming, rather than the "unfortunate fate" of the film covered in "Enigma".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Guardian TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Oct. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Anthony Shaffer's iconic 1973 classic starring the perfectly-cast Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee (in his best-ever role), Ingrid Pitt and Britt Ekland (overdubbed because she couldn't get her Scottish accent right and body-doubled in her nude scene) is one of the most original independent British films ever made. Little of useful substance can be added to the many excellent reviews of the film posted here without indulging in repetition; but if you're interested in film and have never seen "The Wicker Man", then you can now experience the full, uncut 100-minute film in its entirety for the first time.

Having seen the shortened "theatrical" version of the film on its cinema release in 1973 paired with Nicholas Roeg's "Don't Look Now", I had waited many years to see the lost footage. Well, here it is offered on its own disk, as the "director's cut." It's definitely the better version, with the initial ten extra minutes showcasing Sergeant Howie's life on the mainland, his chaste and traditional relationship with his fiancée (anachronistic even in 1973), religious zeal singing in church, and the quiet mockery of his unassailable Christian faith from police colleagues. Howie opens and reads the fateful letter, addressed specifically to him, from an anonymous Summerislander informing him that Rowan Morrison is missing: this makes the plot development and shocking denouement all the more poignant, as the audience realises it's all been planned and Howie tested by the islanders to ensure he's fully what he appears to be. Other short but important scenes are restored to the middle of the running time, deepening the narrative and making the film more coherent.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Murray on 1 Sept. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I could pore over every nuance of the film (I must have seen it 2, maybe 3 hundred times: from late night TV in the very early '80's, through scratchy VHS copies (and a copy of the Roger Corman 'cut', long before it commercially appeared on DVD), then DVD and now, on Blu-ray.

I was actually reticent to buy it, due in no small part to the disingenuous claims made by both Studio Canal and Robin Hardy in the pre-launch propaganda that this was the 'never seen before version'. For Wicker Man fans anticipating the Holy Grail: lengthy footage of Chris Lee discussing apple strains with Sergeant Howie or the deleted Holly Grimmond scenes, they are likely to be underpinning the M3 motorway as landfill (Michael Deeley and Eric Boyd-Perkins are quite possibly responsible for that!) and are equally unlikely to be ever seen.

Instead, this version contains some of the Corman scenes (found on the DVD "Director's Cut 'full' version) including Ash Buchanan's introduction to Aphrodite, Gently Johnny, Willow scrubbing the tables the following morning, etc.

No Alder rattling the spoons across the optics or blowing smoke across the wall towards the missing photo frame. You get the cut version of Landlord's Daughter missing a verse and no police station scene at the beginning with John Hallam, though I did note in the end credits: Postman - Tony Roper scrolled-up. The opening credits attributes music to Magnet (was it not Lodestone on the Corman version?)

Sound is not been vastly improved upon. Some reviews on Amazon suggest a 5.1 soundtrack, but printed on the box and apparent to my ears, it's 2.0 mono. However, the picture quality is a revelation: jumping out of the screen in comparison to any previous version I've seen.
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