The Wicker Man: The Final Cut (1973)
Saturday 21st September 2013
StudioCanal are proud to announce that they will be releasing the first ever full restoration of Robin Hardy's cult classic The Wicker Man, back in cinemas this autumn in celebration of the 40th Anniversary and released on DVD and Blu-ray from 13th October 2013.
StudioCanal have been conducting an extensive worldwide search for film materials for The Wicker Man for the past year, including a public appeal to fans for clues as to the whereabouts of the missing original cut. Eventually a 35mm release print was found at Harvard Film Archives which director Robin Hardy has confirmed is the cut he had put together with distributors Abraxas in 1979 for the US release.
Robin accepts that film materials for the fabled Long Version or "Director's Cut" will probably now never be found. "Sadly, it seems as though this has been lost forever. However, I am delighted that a 1979 Abraxas print has been found as I also put together this cut myself, and it crucially restores the story order to that which I had originally intended. This version of The Wicker Man will (optimistically!) be known as The Final Cut." Of paramount importance to Hardy is that the events on the island take place over a 72-hour period and that Lord Summerisle is established as a character far earlier than in the Short Version (the only version to ever have been previously shown in UK cinemas). Another important inclusion in The Final Cut is the performance of the song Gently Johnny, which is key in signaling both the strange and unusual community into which Sergeant Howie is intruding, and its complicity in events on the island.
When asked whether this cut measures up to the fabled original, long version, Robin Hardy puts it most succinctly: "The film as I saw it in the editing suite the other day fulfills my vision of what it was intended to convey to the audience."
When a young girl mysteriously disappears on a remote Scottish island, devout Christian Police Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) travels there to investigate. He finds a close-knit and secretive pastoral community living on an island paradise, ruled over by mysterious Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), with beliefs very much at odds with his puritanism. The islanders mock Howie's attempts to question them about the girl's disappearance, and put the very foundations of his faith to the test. He begins to fear that the fate of the girl could be linked to the islanders' failing crops and their belief that only a sacrifice of the highest order will change their luck. As May Day festivities intensify and the islanders' behaviour becomes more frenzied, Howie's quest to save the girl becomes a race against time...
Brilliantly scripted by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth, Frenzy) and featuring a career-best performance by the legendary Christopher Lee, director Robin Hardy's atmospheric use of location, unsettling imagery and haunting soundtrack gradually builds to one of the most terrifying and iconic climaxes in modern cinema.
- The Final Cut
- UK Theatrical Cut
- The Director's Cut (seamless branching on BD only)
- Audio Commentary
- Making of Audio Commentary Interview with Robin Hardy (new)
- Featurette on the Cult of the Soundtrack (new)
- The Wicker Man: 40 years on Featurette (new)
- Restoration comparison (new)
- Burnt Offering: The Cult of The Wicker Man
- Interview with Christopher Lee & Robin Hardy (1979)
- Original Soundtrack
Please note - Disc special features are subject to change, may differ from format to format and/or may differ from region to region.