Daily Archives: 06/24/2012
THE WICKER MAN (1973)-United Kingdom-1973
Directed by Robin Hardy
Written by Anthony Shaffer
This is one of those times that I wish I had a thesaurus. I would use it to find the words to describe “The Wicker Man.” It would seem that the word ‘bizarre’ would be the first word that would come to mind. Yes, but that is a word that is used quite frequently to describe movies and books and music that we either don’t understand or that we refuse to understand. I’ve got a better word for “The Wicker Man”: masterpiece. It is a film that goes above the norm for not only horror films, which it most definitely is; but also for films in general terms.
Edward Woodward is Sergeant Howie, a man of devout Christian beliefs who travels to Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. His beliefs are a polar contrast to the pagan teachings of the people of the island and every time he gets close to the truth he is instead lead down a path of deceit. The film culminates with him being played the fool one final time and understanding the truth about the people of Summerisle and that is all I will say about that. To go any further would risk the reveal of an ending that is still as shocking today as it was in 1973. It must be seen to be believed.
Christopher Lee has gone on record as saying that his role as Lord Summerisle is indeed one of his greatest of roles and it is easy to understand why. Lee, like Vincent Price, has always had a penchant for chewing the scenery instead of being a part of it. In “The Wicker Man” he maintains a balance that is nothing short of extraordinary. Edward Woodward is equally brilliant in his role as Sergeant Howie. I don’t know what Woodward’s beliefs or religious preferences were, but I can assure you that the role was a testimony to his profession as an actor. Woodward makes us believe in Howie because he believes in Howie.
I cannot even begin to bestow enough accolades on “The Wicker Man.” It is a surrealistic film that is both psychedelic fever dream and old school horror combined in a neat little package. See it.
A body double was secretly used for the naked rear shots of Willow dancing. The scenes were filmed after Britt Ekland had left the set. The body double was used because Ekland would only agree to topless shots of her body. After shooting was over, not only was Ekland furious to learn she had been doubled in some shots but that she was also a few weeks pregnant in that scene. Director Robin Hardy says it was Ekland herself who did not want her bottom to be filmed, as she did not like it.
Christopher Lee agreed to appear in this film for free.
Although the film is set in Scottish territory and all the characters are meant to be of Scottish nationality, all five of of the leading cast are not Scottish: Christopher Lee andEdward Woodward are English, Diane Cilento is Australian, Ingrid Pitt is Polish and Britt Ekland is Swedish.
- Pissing Up the Wrong Tree (mraybould.wordpress.com)
- The Wicker Man (speculativefictionweblog.wordpress.com)
- DVD Of The Week: The Wicker Tree (2010) (heropress.net)
- Still doing the rite thing – a Wicker Man sequel at last (independent.co.uk)
- Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree, Completing his Trilogy and More (dreadcentral.com)
- See Christopher Lee Talk About Working With Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree DVD (dreadcentral.com)
- Burning Questions for Robin Hardy as Paul Reaney interviews. (allthingswicker.wordpress.com)
- Edward Woodward, 1930-2009 (somecamerunning.typepad.com)
- Review: THE WICKER TREE (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- Wicker double bill to screen at National Arts Festival in S.Africa with DIrector Q&A (allthingswicker.wordpress.com)
- Robin Hardy talks Wicker Trilogy (allthingswicker.wordpress.com)
- A Religion Not of Benevolence, but of Egocentrism: ‘The Wicker Tree’ (Review) (popmatters.com)
- Celebrate The Wicker Tree on UK DVD and Blu-ray with a Special Evening with the Director (dreadcentral.com)