Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 23rd, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: UK, 1973
Director: Robin Hardy
Writer: Anthony Shaffer
Cast: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt
DVD released: August 22nd, 2006
Approximate running time: 88 mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
DVD Release: Anchor Bay
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) goes to Summerisle Island after the disappearance of a young girl. His investigations into the girl’s disappearance are not meet with approval from the locales that see him as an outsider. Through his investigations Sergeant Howie uncovers a secret pagan society that clashes with his Christian beliefs. Will Sergeant Howie find the missing girl or do the locales have bigger plans for him?
The Wicker Man starts off innocently enough like a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery before transforming into something infinitely sinister when all the films red herrings have fallen by the wayside for a grand finale unlike nothing you have seen before. The Wicker Man’s screenplay was written by Anthony Shaffer who is best known for his screenplays for Sleuth and Frenzy. Shaffer stays far way from your horror film clichés and creates something that is unique unto itself. The film is beautifully directed in a documentary way adding to the mythos created within the film. At first you tell yourself that it is only a movie that is until you have been drawn into web of deceit.
The acting in the film is solid all around with Christopher Lee’s performance stealing the whole show. Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle is a flawless performance and without a doubt Lee’s finest work as an actor. The films weakest link is actor Edward Woodward who portrays Sergeant Howie. His performance is too wooden and lacks the right of amount of emotional depth required to fully make his character sympathetic. The Wicker Man is one of the few horror film’s that has never been imitated and this is most likely due to just how groundbreaking of a horror film it was. Overall The Wicker Man is a wicked tale about deceit and sacrifice.
Anchor bay presents The Wicker Man in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Outside of visible grain colors are vibrant and black levels remain solid throughout. Print damage is non existent and the image remains stable through out.
This release comes with one audio option the films original English language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix of the films original mono source. The dialog is crisp and the rest of the soundtrack sounds evenly balanced and never distorted.
Extras for this release include the films original trailer, a T.V. spot, radio spots and talent bios for Robin Hardy, Anthony Shaffer, Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee. The main extras for this release is the excellent thirty five documentary titled “The Wicker Man Enigma” which includes interviews with Robin Hardy, Peter Snell, Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, Anthony Shaffer, Eric Boyd-Perkins, Seamus Flannery, Jake Wright, John Simon and Roger Corman. The documentary is filled with man y great tales about the trouble of making the film and how the films original negative was lost. Overall Anchor Bay gives one of the UK best horror films a solid special edition DVD, highly recommended.