Europa Cinema > 23:59


Robin Hardy
Introduced by

Andrea Meneghelli


Saturday 24/06/2023


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

The Wicker Man burns brighter than ever across the scarred terrain of British Cinema. Famously championed by “Cinefantastique” stateside, as far back as 1977, as “the Citizen Kane of horror”, it took longer to ignite at home, but nowadays regularly ranks high in best film polls, with its star, Christopher Lee, having declared that in it he gave his greatest performance…
Despite all this, back in the dark days of the British film industry of the early 1970s, The Wicker Man, unloved and unwanted, was condemned by the very company that released it as “hellishly difficult to market.”… Cut into more versions than anyone can keep track of, the film has a production history that’s shrouded in mystery and confusion… It became the textbook ‘cult’ movie, with word of its charms spread from fan to fan, in an analogue age, via whispered rumour and fanzines, back when your only chance of catching a forgotten film was if it turned up on telly late one night. It’s quite a story. The Wicker Man sees staunchly Christian police sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) fly to Summerisle, a remote Scottish island, to investigate the disappearance of young Rowan Morrison… Howie encounters Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), the islanders’ charming, pantheistic leader, who has concocted the kidnap as a deception to lure the virginal Howie to his doom… The film is as elaborately constructed as a Hardy-Shaffer practical joke; but grander, darker, and genuinely horrifying. “Every five minutes there was a strong clue,” explains Hardy. “Howie picks up some but he doesn’t pick up others, and the audience has the chance to pick up some and see what’s going on.”

Vic Pratt, Long Arm of the Lore, “Sight & Sound”, n. 10, October 2013

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal romanzo Ritual (1967) di David Pinner. Scen.: Anthony Shaffer. F.: Harry Waxman. M.: Eric Boyd-Perkins. Scgf.: Seamus Flannery. Mus.: Paul Giovanni. Int.: Edward Woodward (sergente Neil Howie), Christopher Lee (Lord Summerisle), Britt Ekland (Willow MacGregor), Lesley Mackie (Daisy), Diane Cilento (Miss Rose), Ingrid Pitt (la bibliotecaria), Lindsay Kemp (Alder MacGregor), Ian Campbell (Oak). Prod.: Peter Snell per British Lion Film Corporation. DCP. Col.