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This documentary witch is on the Wicker Man 2 disc DVD is superb and very
insightful. It tells
of the difficulties the film when threw in the editing of the film and the
loss of the footage. The
interviews are superb and the interviewees give and honest opinions to the
film as Ingrid Pitt
didn't seem to have liked the film and doesn't praise it as most do in the
If you're a fan of the Wicker Man than this is a must see
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Wicker Man Enigma is a 35 minute-ish documentary that features on
quite a few DVD editions of the classic horror film The Wicker Man
(1973), as far as these sorts of documentary's go it's a good 'un.
A lot of the films production team are featured in the documentary, from the director & writer to the stars. It's basically a chronological story in which the cast & crew detail the making of the film & it's distribution problems starting with writer Anthony Shaffer who goes into the inspiration behind the film saying that he wanted to write a horror film but something significantly different from the likes of what Hammer studios were churning out. Various people talk about the making of the film & there's a neat montage here of locations from the film as they were in 2000, I'd have said as they are now but this documentary was made 7 years ago & it's not unreasonable to think the locations might have significantly changed again. Christopher Lee again claims that he got paid nothing for making The Wicker Man & he still has his contract to prove it. Then it goes into the problems they had with the distributors & that the head of EMI told Christopher Lee it was one of the ten worst films he'd ever seen, it had chunks edited out of it & placed on a double bill with Don't Look now (1973) which the company also hated. Then there's the tragic story of how all the negatives, cut footage & outtakes were buried under the M3 by mistake before it goes on to discuss how the film is thought of these days & it's 'revival'.
Now, The Wicker Man Enigma would have been a great documentary as it's very informative, the interviewees speak freely & it's not a back patting self congratulatory promotional piece if not for the bizarre presentation. We have all seen films in widescreen on our TV's where there are black bars at the top & bottom of the screen which is fine but on The Wicker Man Enigma there are horrible distracting black bars on all four sides of the frame, why is the question I ask here, why? It's almost like there's a TV 'within' your TV & I am at a loss to see why the makers put a huge black frame around the picture, I personally found it irritating beyond belief but there you go.
Overall this is a great documentary but why the black frame? It's a very odd film-making decision & it bugged me more & more as time went by, I suppose it's a small grumble though when you consider it's a free extra on a DVD. Definitely worth a watch if your a fan of the film.
The Wicker Man Enigma (2001)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
Christopher Lee, Anthony Shaffer, Robin Hardy, Ingrid Pitt, Edward Woodward and Roger Corman are just a few of the names who are interviewed here as we learn about the troubled history of THE WICKER MAN.
David Gregory once again created a highly entertaining featurette that features some wonderful interviews as well as some terrific bits of information on the production of the film. The documentary starts off talking about how the project went into production and then from here we cover the troubled post-production, which included a poor distribution and even worse was the fact that the film was cut down to a shorter version. We then get into discussions about the re-birth of the film and the discovery of the original version.
If you're a fan of the film then you'll certainly enjoy this documentary that clocks in at thirty five minutes and features a lot of great interviews. It's especially great getting to hear from Lee and Hardy as they really do a great job at showing their frustration in regards to how the film was handled on its original release and their joy that the film eventually found an audience. There's no question that the highlight deals with how the film was handled and how the negative is still lost to this day.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This 35-minute retrospective documentary offers a real compelling and illuminating chronicle on the making of and troubled distribution history behind the legendary early 70's British horror gem "The Wicker Man." Screenwriter Anthony Schaffer discusses how he got the idea for the premise from researching ancient pagan sacrificial rites and wanted to write a horror script that was a radical departure from standard Hammer horror fare. Christopher Lee reveals that the plum part of Lord Summerisle was specifically written for him and he loved the role so much that he acted in the film for free. Director Robin Hardy saw the movie as a musical and thus decided to have as many music numbers as possible included in the picture. Ingrid Pitt refused to wear a coat in between camera set-ups for the climax out of respect to the extras who wear all freezing in the extreme cold (although this movie takes place in the spring, it was shot in the bitter cold months of October and November!). Edward Woodard reveals that the goats above him in the wicker statue got so scared that they urinated on him. The most alarming and fascinating portion of this doc centers on how this movie was severely cut during its initial release and the shocking story about the negative being buried underneath a major highway in Great Britain. We also find out that Peter Cushing was initially approached to play Sergeant Howie, locals in Scotland were cast as extras, and Roger Corman expressed interest in releasing the movie in America in the 1970's. Fortunately, a restored version of the film was reissued in the early 1980's to great acclaim and the movie has gone on to achieve a well-deserved substantial cult status. Essential viewing for fans of the film.
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