THE WICKER MAN Final Cut Set for Theatrical Release
Originally released in 1973, The Wicker Man has easily developed a reputation as one of the greatest horror movies ever made. Knowing the film’s popularity, it seems surprising that at the time of its theatrical release, Robin Hardy’s cult-classic was subjected to substantial and controversial cuts by its UK distributor in order to fit the feature into double bill screenings. In a situation which happens far too frequently with films of a certain age, much of the original footage was apparently lost to the passage of time. With large chunks of “The Wicker Man” apparently lost, critics and viewers alike have long wondered, what should the film have looked like?
Over the last forty years, the film has slowly been pieced together, largely thanks to the film’s devoted fan-base. Early this year, with the fortieth anniversary of “The Wicker Man” rapidly approaching, Studiocanal launched a social media campaign to restore the missing pieces of the popular film.
The social media campaign yielded a number of results, most notably a 95 minute, 35 millimeter print of “The Wicker Man” housed at the Harvard Film Archive. After director Robin Hardy viewed the new footage, it was determined to be the version assembled for American distribution in 1979. Hardy has declared that the footage fulfilled his vision, and it has been anointed it the final cut of “The Wicker Man.”
The film stars Edward Woodward, horror movie legend Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland. The narrative follows Woodward as a police officer who is drawn to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of twelve year old girl. Upon his arrival on the island, the officer discovers that the locals are followers of ancient paganism, and engage in human sacrifice. Fearing that the missing girl is doomed to be sacrificed, he must work to save her in the face of the interference of the islanders.
Those in and around the New York City area can check out the final cut of “The Wicker Man” starting September 27 at the Independent Film Center. After the film closes on October 3, Rialto Pictures plans to take the film on tour, with screenings of the film across the country. Check out the Rialto website for further details on screenings in your area.