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The Wicker Man - The Director's Cut (DVD) 
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When a young girl mysteriously disappears, Police Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) travels to a remote 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?
DVD Special Features:
Original Theatrical Version of The Wicker Man (84 mins) with Dolby 5.1 soundtrack
"The Wicker Man Enigma" Documentary (35 mins)
Interview with Christopher Lee (25 mins)
Radio Spots (x3)
DVD-ROM downloadable pages from original theatrical press brochure
The Wicker Man - The Director's Cut (99 mins)
Feature length commentary with Christopher Lee, Edward Woodward, Director Robin Hardy and moderated by Mark Kermode (UK exclusive recorded December 2001)
Easter Egg--footage of commentary team meeting and preparing
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
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Top Customer Reviews
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".Read more ›
This BluRay looks great for the most part but, the additional scenes, like the opener at the church and the "Gently Johnny" segment are washed out and flat. They might well have be painstakingly restored and de-speckled, as one of the bonus features demonstrates, but what was wrong with boosting up the colour to better match the rest of the film? If you look at the Directors Cut (also available with this 3 disc set) the same scenes have a better saturation in colour that fits in well with the rest of the footage. I dare say that the colour will be re-adjusted on a future re-issue so fans will have to shell out once more. Some of the bonus stuff is good but the newer interviews have not had the audio levels matched so one interview is too quiet another it too loud, very unprofessional.
The second disc contains the Theatrical Cut and Directors Cut but, both are in SD which is really disappointing. OK, so the Directors Cut uses additional footage from a VHS, as the original photo negative has been lost, and it would probably have looked terrible in HD, however, the Theatrical Cut should have had the HD treatment without question. Also they have wrongly labelled the Directors Cut with the slower NTSC running speed at 102mins instead of the correct 99min UK/PAL speed.
The last disc is a CD of the actual sound track which is great to own and nice to hear some of those songs in full, but there is no booklet with the artists, writers and production credits to peruse. This package really does fell a bit sparse without one!
Overall, I do like the `Final Cut' but how `final' will it be?Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mainland Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) flies off to the remote Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a 12 year old girl. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Spike Owen
This film is quite nasty, not a pleasant watch at All. It is very Early seventies with much Focus om nude Blondes. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Helle Dorrit Sorensen
Enough has been said and written about this brilliant piece of British cinema that there's little I can add other than to agree this is a must see classic. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Alan Hilary
Good special edition pack that includes the soundtrack CD with nice looking packaging.Published 1 month ago by CA
For me, it has lost none of its potency, and I saw it at the cinema on its first release. For goodness (or otherwise) sake don't confuse it with the recent awful 2006 re-make! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rod Blocksidge
A great story and an enjoyable film...let down only a little bit by the compromised casting of the female leads.Published 1 month ago by music lover