“You simply don’t understand the true nature of sacrifice.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
There has been much written — including in Peary’s Cult Movies 2 essay, and Allan Brown’s book Inside The Wicker Man — about the film’s notoriously challenging post-production and distribution history. The first restoration (released to great fanfare in 1979) bumped the running time up from 87 to 96 minutes and finally gave the film a significant audience; the 2001 Director’s Cut was a 95 minute hybrid; and the Final Director’s Cut (available on BluRay) is 93 minutes. Originally deleted (but now restored) footage includes a hypnotic nude dance by Ekland in a hotel room adjacent to Woodland’s as she bangs on the walls in an attempt to seduce him; and scenes from Woodland’s pre-island-visit life.
Regardless of the film’s cuts, however, it remains an entirely unique movie experience: a “musical” which incorporates song and dance into the very fabric of its narrative; other-worldly (yet very-much-real) locations across small Scottish towns and hills; a missing-person-search with a stunning horror plot twist; an unusual tale (as pointed out in the short documentary “Burnt Offering: The Cult of the Wicker Man”) in which an entire town is “in” on a collective attempt to pull the wool over The Fuzz’s eyes; and a memorably knock-out ending. This one remains well worth a look; it’s easy to see how it’s remained a cult classic for so many years.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)