IT’S been described as the best British horror movie ever made, it has one of the most shocking endings in film history and it’s been at the centre of more conspiracy theories than Lord Lucan and the moon landings put together.
Yep, it’s fair to say that ‘The Wicker Man’ is a film that has earned its status as a ‘cult classic’ and then some.
The fabulous news for fans is that a new cut of the film has been uncovered in the vaults and will be released in just a few weeks.
STUDIOCANAL UK is proud to announce that it will be releasing the first-ever full restoration of ‘The Wicker Man’ on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time on October 14, following a cinema reissue, in celebration of the 40th anniversary.
STUDIOCANAL have been conducting an extensive worldwide search for film materials for ‘The Wicker Man’ for the past year, including a public appeal to fans for clues as to the whereabouts of the missing original cut.
Eventually a 35mm release print was found at Harvard Film Archives, which director Robin Hardy has confirmed is the cut he had put together with distributors Abraxas in 1979 for the US release.
This has been scanned at 4k and used to create the first-ever full digital restoration of the film, with Robin Hardy’s guidance.
Robin accepts that film materials for the fabled Long Version or ‘Director’s Cut’ will probably now never be found (one rumour suggests the original film went to landfill and may have been used to build a motorway flyover).
He said: “Sadly, it seems as though this has been lost forever. However, I am delighted that a 1979 Abraxas print has been found as I also put together this cut myself and it crucially restores the story order to that which I had originally intended.
“This version of The Wicker Man will (optimistically!) be known as The Final Cut.”
When asked whether this cut measures up to the fabled original, long version, Robin Hardy puts it most succinctly: “The film as I saw it in the editing suite the other day fulfills my vision of what it was intended to convey to the audience.“
‘The Wicker Man’ has ‘cult classic’ written through it like a stick of rock.
When a young girl mysteriously disappears on a remote Scottish island, devout Christian Police Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) travels there to investigate.
He finds a close-knit and secretive pastoral community living on an island paradise, ruled over by mysterious Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), with beliefs very much at odds with his puritanism.
The islanders mock Howie’s attempts to question them about the girl’s disappearance and put the very foundations of his faith to the test.
He begins to fear that the fate of the girl could be linked to the islanders’ failing crops and their belief that only a sacrifice of the highest order will change their luck.
As May Day festivities intensify and the islanders’ behaviour becomes more frenzied, Howie’s quest to save the girl becomes a race against time...
Brilliantly scripted by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth, Frenzy) and featuring a career-best performance by the legendary Christopher Lee, director Robin Hardy’s atmospheric use of location, unsettling imagery and haunting soundtrack gradually builds to one of the most terrifying and iconic climaxes in modern cinema.
The four-disc DVD edition and three-disc Blu-Ray edition will include:
The Final Cut
UK Theatrical Cut
The Director’s Cut (seamless branching on BD only)
Making of Audio Commentary short film
Interview with Robin Hardy (new)
The Music of the Wicker Man featurette (new),
Worshipping The Wicker Man Featurette (new),
Restoration comparison (new),
Burnt Offering: The Cult of The Wicker Man
Interview with Christopher Lee & Robin Hardy (1979)