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The Wicker Man - 4-Disc 40th Anniversary Edition [DVD]
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Four decades after its release in cinemas in 1973, the unique British cult classic The Wicker Man still holds an enduring fascination for audiences all over the world. In this 40th anniversary double play edition, the film is presented as The Final Cut, a version which has never before been restored and never before been seen in UK cinemas. Approved by director Robin Hardy, The Final Cut is the finest and most complete version of The Wicker Man. Featuring brand new extras, this 40th anniversary edition is every The Wicker Man fan's perfect ending to a much mythicised search for the most complete version of the film. Having left no stone unturned in the search for the original film materials, the ghosts have now been laid to rest, as we can finally and happily confirm, that this is The Final Cut.
DVD Disc 1
- The Final Cut
- Worshipping The Wicker Man - Famous fans featurette
- The music of The Wicker Man featurette
- Interview with Robin Hardy
DVD Disc 2
- UK Theatrical Cut
- The Director's Cut (with audio commentary)
- Making of Audio Commentary short film
DVD Disc 3
- Burnt Offering: The Cult of The Wicker Man documentary written by Mark Kermode
- Interview with Christopher Lee & Robin Hardy (1979)
DVD Disc 4
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.
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'Summersisle' to investigate.
He is greeted with suspicion and denial of the girls very existence finding the locals unwilling to answer questions
The Sergeant soon realizes that this closed community is unlike anything he'd encountered before, they seem to
have a culture and set of beliefs and standards all of their own.
When approaching the Islands overlord 'Lord Summersisle' (Christopher Lee) he finds that the paganism he was
encountering is almost certainly orchestrated by the secretive Lord of The Manor.
The landlord of the hostelry 'Howie' was staying at has a very seductive daughter 'Willow' (Brit Ekland) who is clearly
not accustomed to rejection of her advances.
Realising his enquiry is going nowhere he decides to return to the mainland to seek help and advice on the case, however
the 'Sergeant' has learnt far too much of the Island's secretive ways and will not be permitted to leave by the Islanders.
The time of sacrificial offering is imminent, a time when offerings are made to please their gods so the harvest will be
fruitful....the 'Sergeant' will unwittingly become a paramount part of the pagan celebration.
A 70's Horror-Gem well worthy of a viewing.
(The recent re-make starring 'Nicolas Cage' fell well short of the impact achieved by this release)
Disc One -
THE FINAL CUT
Burnt Offering - The Cult of The Wicker Man Documentary written by Mark Kermode
Worshipping The Wicker Man - Famous Fans Featurette
The Music of The Wicker Man Featurette
Interview with Robin Hardy
Interview with Christopher Lee and Robin Hardy (1979)
Disc Two -
U.K Theatrical Trailer
The Director's Cut (with audio Commentary)
Making of Audio Commentary Short Film
Disc Three -
This mixes fairly basic cinematography with a cracking good horror story, and it works brilliantly. I suspect that if this was a slick, flash million pound production, it would have lost a hell of a lot of its charm.
Christopher Lee is fabulous as the sinisterly debonair Lord Summerisle, and Edward Woodward's portrayal as the God fearing, disapproving, naive copper is spot on.
The special features are Burnt Offering: The Cult Of The Wicker Man documentary; Worshiping The Wicker Man - Famous Fans featurette; The Music Of The Wicker Man featurette; Interview with Robin Hardy; 1979 Interview with Christopher Lee and Robin Hardy; Restoration Comparison; Trailer.
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