The Wicker Man
The Wicker Man – 1973 | 102 mins | Mystery, Horror | Colour
The Wicker Man is a cult masterpiece adapted from Anthony Shaffer’s story, which has rattled censors and upright Christian authorities ever since its release. Director Robin Hardy manages to stoke up a genuinely sinister, sometimes erotic atmosphere as a playful game of cat-and-mouse turns memorably harrowing.
Strait-laced police sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) is our bewildered protagonist, investigating the disappearance of a young girl on the secluded Scottish island of Summer Isle, and finding a perfectly functional – but hideously ungodly pagan society. Howie questions numerous villagers about the girls whereabouts, some claim the girl doesn’t exist or that that she is dead, but never really answer any of his questions. The virginal policeman uncovers the truth behind stories of strange Satanic rites and wild, wild women such as the innkeeper’s daughter, Willow (Britt Ekland), who one night attempts to arouse the police officer, who is in the room next door, by dancing in the nude while singing to him.
The people on the island increasingly disgust the officer with the rituals they perform, and it’s hardly surprising that poor old Howie soon becomes a gibbering basket case. He soon becomes aware that locals may be hiding the girl and follows the progressively shocking trail of clues to the unflappable local laird Lord Surnmerisle (Christopher Lee). Howie believes the girl is to be sacrificed to provide bountiful crops during a pagan May Day ceremony, and then sets out to rescue her, and the perfect surprise ending.
Robin Hardy: Director
Seamus Flannery: Art Direction
Harry Waxman: Cinematography
Sue Yelland: Costume Department
Eric Boyd-Perkins: Editing
WT Partleton: Makeup Department
Paul Giovanni: Music
Peter Snell: Producer
Anthony Shaffer: Script