The Wicker Man
1973*****

| 100 MINS | COLOUR |


SYNOPSIS

Police Sergeant Howie, a celibate devout Christian, is sent an anonymous letter insisting that he investigate the disappearance of Rowan Morrison, a young girl, on the remote island of Summerisle.

He flies to the island and discovers, much to his disgust, that the entire population of the island participate in paganism, engaging in fertility rituals, and worshipping the sun. He sees people copulating in the graveyard, and children being taught about the phallic significance of the maypole.

The islanders claim never to have heard of Rowan, so he eventually gets permission to exhume her body from the graveyard. Instead of her body, he discovers the corpse of a freshly killed hare, which has many supernatural overtones. Further investigations lead him to believe that Rowan has been sacrificed to appease the "gods".


The Wicker man 1973 The Wicker man 1973

Dressed as Punch, a character from the May day festival, and cavorting throughout the streets with other islanders in a procession, Howie finally finds Rowan tied to a post. He cuts her free only to see Rowan embrace her captors. Then he becomes surrounded on all sides.

Lord Summerisle explains that Sergeant Howie was lured to the isle to be sacrificed to the "gods" after their crops failed diastrously the previous year. Howie, he explains, meets their requirements as a suitable sacrifice. He is dressed in ceremonial robes and locked inside a giant wicker man statue. As the statue is lit, Howie recites psalm 23. The burning head of the wicker man falls from its shoulders, and there the film ends.



REVIEWS

Timeout: Neglected for years, The Wicker Man, is now a gold-seal cult classic.

Classic-Horror: One of the truly classic horror thrillers of the 20th Century.

AllMovie: The slow tension builds to a terrifying climax.


QUOTE

Sergeant Howie: I believe in the life eternal, as promised to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ.


CREDITS

  • Directed by Robin Hardy
  • Produced by Peter Snell
  • Music by Paul Giovanni
  • Cinematography Harry Waxman
  • Production company British Lion Films



  • NOTABLE FACTS

  • Christopher Lee performed his part for no fee. He described it as the best script he has ever seen.
  • Brit Ekland's dialogue was overdubbed by Scottish actress Annie Ross.



  • CAST

    Edward Woodward -- Sergeant Howie | Christopher Lee -- Lord Summerisle | Diane Cilento -- Miss Rose | Britt Ekland -- Willow | Ingrid Pitt -- Librarian | Lindsay Kemp -- Alder MacGreagor | Russell Waters -- Harbour Master | Aubrey Morris -- Old Gardener / Gravedigger | Irene Sunters -- May Morrison (also as Irene Sunter) | Walter Carr -- School Master | Ian Campbell -- Oak | Leslie Blackater -- Hairdresser | Roy Boyd -- Broome | Peter Brewis -- Musician | Barbara Rafferty -- Woman with Baby (as Barbara Ann Brown)



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