The Wicker Man 50th anniversary (Vintage Classics) [Region A & B & C]
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Posted by Phil on Jun 27, 2023 in All, drama, DVD/Blu-ray, fantasy, Film, Headline, horror, News, thriller | 0 comments
The 2023 extra ‘ Robin Hardy’s Script – The Lost Ending’ with Tim Plester, and his thoughts on the cut monologues is one of the best though. His family not only have Hardy’s original script, but they also discuss why the director and writer either fought over the final outcome, or which monologues would be cut, and this gives you an excellent idea of how films come together, and some suggested decisions make sense once you’ve heard them. But there is so much more to the story behind Sergeant Howie’s visit and stranger still are the rites that take place there.
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The May Day series shows the influence of European and near eastern religions & cultures on the pagan traditions of Britain. The series forms a loose narrative, a connection between the past and present, using literal, metaphorical, and spiritual symbolism. I’d witnessed numerous clips and conversations but taking the journey itself is definitely an experience, and one I unexpectedly enjoyed. It’s sharp, bizarre, a little ridiculous (even as some film critics admit on the featurettes) but… it doesn’t seem to matter. Anthony Shaffer and Robin Hardy’s folk horror (as it became known) is about the characters and the trippy ‘feeling’ and you can sense every ounce of influence on films worldwide today. When the final rug-pulling takes place (spoiler alert, but the entire missing girl case has been staged by the community to lure the virginal Howie to Summerisle for a ritualistic pagan immolation) it remains Directed by Robin Hardy, the film features a cast that includes Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, and Diane Cilento. Despite a difficult production and heavily cut original theatrical release, the film has achieved true cult status in the 50 years since its original release, making it one of the most revered horror films in cinema history. World Premiere – Sunday 30th April Then there is “The Short Version”, the version that we were shown at the 50th Anniversary screening was the “Final Cut” which has been wonderfully restored and is being released in a rather nice looking Anniversary Collector’s Edition in September, that’s certainly a release to add to the collection as it loads of features and the three cuts of the movie.
It’s great to see a mixture of ages seeing a classic movie on the big screen, although I don’t think some people were expecting the long Q&A before the movie. One woman shouted out after the Q&A when the film was about to start, “About Time”, slightly disrespectful in my point of view as the Q&A was mentioned in the booking for the movie and of its length. Personally, for me, I loved the Q&A and it became part of the experience of such a classic. The May Day series seeks to explore the pagan heritage of the British Isles and Ireland through the medium of visual images and writing. The series includes material drawn from historical sources, personal interpretations, and fusions of the past and present eras of myth, folklore, and religion. Plus! Joining us at the Duke of York’s Picturehouse for a special one-off show on Wed 21 June, we’re delighted to welcome director Robin Hardy’s sons, Dominic and Justin Hardy, who are currently making a documentary about their father and his cult film. A letter brings self-righteous police sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward, Breaker Morant) to a remote Scottish island looking for Rowan Morrison (Geraldine Cowper), a beautiful young girl who has disappeared without a trace. Howie promptly meets May Morrison (Irene Sunters, A Sense of Freedom), a local post office worker who mailed the letter to the mainland, but is told that Rowan never lived on the island and that her only daughter is Myrtle (Jennifer Martin). The May Day series seeks to explore the pagan heritage of the British Isles and Ireland through the medium of visual images and writing. The series includes material drawn from historical sources, personal interpretations, and fusions of the past and present eras of myth, folklore, and religion. The series shows the influence of European and near eastern religions & cultures on the pagan traditions of Britain. The series forms a loose narrative, a connection between the past and present, using literal, metaphorical, and spiritual symbolism.Seriously confused, Howie attempts to talk to the local residents, but after a few short conversations he realizes that everyone is lying to him. Later on, he also witnesses a number of strange rituals which confuse him even more. When he eventually meets the wealthiest and most respected man on the island, Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), Howie is stunned to learn that the rituals are in fact part of everyday life. A second generation 35mm intermediate positive produced in 1973 was used to replace a small section with unrepairable damage in the original negative. The additional footage is sourced from 35mm prints, which are the only known sources for this material. Colour grading and restoration were completed by Silver Salt Restoration UK who dedicated over 500 hours to fix physical damage to the 35mm negative, manually clean and remove dirt, sparkle and scratches. The colour grade used was previously approved by Robin Hardy and replicated here. Edith Bowman is an award-winning radio broadcaster, podcast host and television presenter. Her broadcasting career has flourished over more than two decades and now she is one of the most well-respected and sought-after personalities in the film, television and audio industry. British folk horror at its best – and rereleased again to become a gilt-edged classic” - Guardian ★★★★★
The cast is great. Woodward is very convincing as the perplexed sergeant who comes to realize that no one on the island can be trusted. Lee looks and sounds appropriately authoritative. Britt Ekland and Ingrid Pitt, two classic European beauties, also have small but memorable roles in the film. After being made aware by an anonymous letter that young girl Rowan Morrison has gone missing on the isolated enclave of Summerisle, he is fierce and dogged in his pursuit of the truth, even as the eccentric locals (who have long abandoned traditional religion in favour of more hedonistic observances) stonewall him at every turn. Please note that some of the screencaptures that appear with this article are taken from the 4K Blu-ray and downscaled to 1080p. Therefore, they do not accurately reflect the quality of the 4K content on the 4K Blu-ray disc, including the actual color values of this content. The film tells the chilling story of a puritan Police Sergeant who arrives on a remote Scottish Island in search of a missing girl only to find the Pagan locals claiming she never existed.To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Studiocanal are proud to release a newly restored 4K version of the 2011 Final Cut of the film. The film's observations about religion, its purpose and use by people living in closed communities also feel remarkably modern. During the final act, in particular, there are many truths about the dangerous vacuum which religion is capable of creating in such communities. One of the masterstrokes of Hardy’s film is to embed us entirely with Howie’s increasingly harried point-of-view. Each step forward in his investigation – as Howie uncovers the heathen rituals overseen by Lee’s sybaritic Lord Summerisle, and becomes convinced that poor Rowan is to be the subject of a ritual burning on Mayday to revive a stalled crop cycle – feels hard-fought and hard-won.
This lovely set from STUDIOCANAL features all three versions of the film on Blu-ray and 4K UHD, with that 4K restoration being the stellar work of Silver Salt Restoration UK, from the original 35mm negative with a second generation 35mm to replace a small section that had unrepairable damage, plus extra 35mm prints for additional footage – the last known sources of the missing parts of the film. Overall, this is 500-odd hours of dedicated colour grading and restoration, which was previously director approved and looks so impressive as a result. StudioCanal is releasing brand-new 4K restoration of the film, with two very special screenings this Spring, and culminating with a Collector’s Edition release in September. From the opening sequence that introduces Edward Woodward’s Police Officer Neil Howie as a dedicated Churchgoer, it’s not long before we arrive with him somewhere in Scotland via his excellent small seaplane, on the extremely remote Hebridean-esque island. He’s here to investigate the disappearance of Rowan Morrison, a young girl who has vanished and Howie has been sent a letter from the island, in the hope of it being further investigated. But, you see, even on his first moments – things are peculiar. The locals that greet him won’t send him a boat to help him from his plan, as they tell him he’s not allowed there unless he’s got permission and although eventually, he gets on, the locals (played by real people) aren’t happy – and there’s almost a murmur of discontent in the wind. These early moments set the tone for the unusual, and also a mention of Lord Summerisle ( Christopher Lee), who we will come to meet in full later on. The clues of what’s ahead are also here in these early scenes, the local shop undoubtedly has weird-shaped cakes and sweets in the window, there’s a firm nod towards something to do with hares and even the family of the missing child aren’t totally convinced she’s gone anywhere, or if they even know her. Elusive characters and mysterious games are almost knowingly afoot.Joe Machine’s works are dovetailed to the creative writings of Dr. Steven O’Brien, whose poetry and prose create a harmonic symbiosis of brush and pen. Artist and academic have been collaborating on select projects since 2015. NATIONWIDE CINEMA & HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASE Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription All three versions of the film; The Final Cut, The Director’s Cut and The Theatrical Cut, have been painstakingly restored and will be released in an exclusive 5-disc Collector’s Edition as well as a 4-disc Steelbook version. The Final Cut will also be available on Digital the same day. Paul Giovanni's music score is also very unusual. At times the music is calm and relaxing, even seductive, and other times grotesquely intense. It certainly has an identity of its own which is as misleading as that of the actual film. (Listen to Giovanni's Gently Johnny and Magnet's Sunset).