The Wicker Man has been found! No, they haven’t found a smouldering pile of black ash that looks like it might have once contained Edward Woodward (isn’t that technically a spoiler? – Ed). Instead they have now found all the bits of celluloid that make up The Wicker Man (1973) that they’re ever likely to find. Sadly, they weren’t holding up the M3 as legend suggests. In fact, we have a vague memory of Christopher Lee coming up with all sorts of colourful conspiracies as to what happened to the film but then Big Chris does like to spin a good yarn. They turned up in the American Harvard archives, if you must know.
So what does this mean? Well the short version is that you’re going to have another DVD to buy and a chance to see (another) restored version in the cinemas for the 40th anniversary. However, what this cut will look like is a little more complicated. There have been director’s cuts, short cuts, middle cuts and half cuts over the years but these usually contain some grainy bits that ruin the flow because they’ve never had the original material for the whole film. If memory serves (and it may not) the BBC showed it on Moviedrome in the ‘80s with black and white stills filling in for missing bits. However, now director Robin Hardy can release the version he intended without any problems with uneven quality. In all likelihood there won’t be anything in it you haven’t actually seen before but it will be nicer to watch. In fact, this version will be shorter than some as it won’t contain much of the pre-title bits set on the Scottish mainland that are in the current director’s cut as Hardy never wanted them in the first place.
Best bet is to see The Wicker Man: The Final Cut (probably) when it’s released in cinemas on 27th September. The Blu-ray will be released in October.
This means that you too can waste a whole evening slowly going through the movie to see if you can spot Balamory’s Edie McCredie (Juliet Cadzow) as this writer once did. Another version to weigh down those overcrowded shelves? It’s a damn good job The Wicker Man is brilliant. Don’t forget to sing along.
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