: : : The Wicker Man

Story

Typically categorized as a horror film, The Wicker Man is actually a serious and literate thriller about modern paganism, written by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth) with a deft combination of cool subjectivity and escalating dread. (Robin Hardy here marks his only directorial effort.) We're introduced to the friendly but mysterious residents of Summerisle (located off the west coast of Scotland), where the isolated community enacts rituals that seem, at first, to be merely unconventional. When called in to investigate an anonymous tip about a missing child, mainland police sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) is treated as an outsider, and the ominous Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) has the inside advantage. As the repressed policeman is taunted by the island's sensuous atmosphere, his investigation leads to increasingly disturbing implications.

With phallic symbols and soothing music at every turn, Summerisle is a pleasant haven for those who perform the pagan rituals of Lord Summerisle's maverick ancestors. These earthy ceremonies are presented with alluring authenticity, and the island's tempting eroticism is fully expressed by the landlord's daughter (Britt Ekland), who fills Howie with barely suppressed carnal desire. (Sirens took a comedic approach to a similar situation in 1994.) And yet the mystery of the missing girl remains, with clues that hint at a darker reality beneath the colorful local customs. When that reality is ultimately discovered, Howie becomes the crucial element in the islanders' most elaborate ritual, which is where the film's title comes into play. It may not be horror, but it is horrific, and this makes The Wicker Man an unforgettable film. --Jeff Shannon

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen
  • Box set
  • Dolby

Cast

Edward WoodwardSergeant Howie
Christopher LeeLord Summerisle
Diane CilentoMiss Rose
Britt EklandWillow
Ingrid PittLibrarian
Lindsay KempAlder MacGreagor
Russell WatersHarbour Master
Aubrey MorrisOld Gardener / Gravedigger
Irene SuntersMay Morrison (also as Irene Sunter)
Walter CarrSchool Master
Ian CampbellOak
Leslie BlackaterHairdresser
Roy BoydBroome
Peter BrewisMusician
Barbara RaffertyWoman with Baby (as Barbara Ann Brown)
Juliet CadzowVillager on Summerisle (as Juliette Cadzow)
Ross CampbellCommunicant
Penny CluerGillie
Michael John ColeMusician (as Michael Cole)
Kevin CollinsOld Fisherman
Gerry CowperRowan Morrison (as Geraldine Cowper)
Ian CutlerMusician
Donald EcclesT.H. Lennox
Myra ForsythMrs. Grimmond
John HallamP.C. McTaggert
Alison HughesFiancée to Howie
Charles KearneyButcher
Fiona KennedyHolly
John MacGregorBaker (as John Macgregor)
Jimmy MacKenzieBriar (as Jimmy Mackenzie)
Lesley MackieDaisy (also as Leslie Mackie)
Jennifer MartinMyrtle Morrison
Bernard MurrayMusician
Helen NormanVillager on Summerisle
Lorraine PetersGirl on Grave
Tony RoperPostman
John SharpDoctor Ewan
Elizabeth SinclairVillager on Summerisle
Andrew TompkinsMusician
Ian WilsonCommunicant
Richard WrenAsh Buchanan
John YoungFishmonger

  • Genre: Horror Movies
  • Director: Robin Hardy
  • Producer: Anchor Bay
  • Length: 88 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaJune 1975
    EuropeDecember 1973
    JapanMar 21, 1998
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaAug 21, 2001
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