On Sunday, April 29, 1973, Sergeant Neil Howie with the West Highland Constabulary flies solo to Summerisle off the coast of Scotland. He is there to follow up on a letter addressed specifically to him from an anonymous source on Summerisle reporting that a twelve year old girl who lives on the island, Rowan Morrison, the daughter of May Morrison, has long been missing. The correspondence includes a photograph of Rowan. Upon his arrival on Summerisle, Howie finds that the locals are a seemingly simple minded lot who provide little information beyond the fact that they know of no Rowan Morrison and do not know the girl in the photo. Mrs. Morrison admits to having a daughter, seven year old Myrtle, but no Rowan. As Howie speaks to more and more people, he begins to believe that Rowan does or did live on the island, but that the locals are hiding their knowledge of her. He also begins to see that the locals all have pagan beliefs, their "religion" which centers on procreation as the ...Written by
Many years after making the film Edward Woodward re-visited some of the locations and claimed that he found the makeshift cross (that Howie makes out of some pieces of wood) still intact where it was left in the original scene. See more »
In the bedroom seduction scene, Woodward's character is seen in close up pressing himself against the wall. A ring is clearly seen on the fourth finger of his left hand. At all other times in the film the ring is on the fourth finger of his right hand and there is no ring on his left hand. See more »
[Short Version only] A message from the producers thanks "The Lord Summerisle and the people of his island" for co-operating in the making of the film. This is despite both the lord and the island being totally fictitious. See more »
The later video release featured another recovered pre-title scene of Howie in the police station, which was not seen in the Director's Cut theatrical release. See more »
On an island off the Scottish coast is a very strange community that Sgt Howie (Edward Woodward) ventures to in search of a missing teenaged girl. On landing he is astonished to find that the crowd of old men has never heard of the girl. His quest will be stranger yet.
The island is "ruled" by Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) who is the descendant of a scientist who introduced exotic cultivars of fruits and re-introduced druidic or pagan beliefs. As the island prospered with its exported fruits the paganism became more deep rooted. The Sgt finds more and more mystery as he continues his quest for the girl.
Pitting Christianity against early pagan druidic rituals is just one of the intellectual pleasures of this cult film. As the local teacher (Diane Cilento) tells the Sgt, it's easier for a child's mind to understand reincarnation than resurrection. It gets them past all those rotting bodies.
Part mystery story, part horror, The Wicker Man blends several genres into one fascinating film. The May Day Festival is a throwback to pagan rites of a thousand years ago (a bit of which continues today in Morris dancing) and are a highlight of this film. The bizarre procession to the sea to offer sacrifices to the sea gods and sun god is historically accurate and sets up a surprise ending not to be forgotten.
Woodward is splendid as the pompous officer who clings to his religion. Lee is terrific as the eccentric lord. Cilento is a hoot as the teacher. Britt Ekland is the landlord's daughter Willow and Ingrid Pitt is the librarian. Blending folk and Enya-like music (by Paul Giovanni), director Robin Hardy creates a bawdy pagan world in the midst of the 20th century. The Celtic symbolism (Nuada the Sun God) is beautiful and helps set the tone.
A visual treat with great music, this film really gives the viewer something to think about. Highly recommended.
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