The Wicker Man was released in 1973 and was directed by Robin Hardy. It stars Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento and the late, great Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle.
The film opens with Sergeant Howie (Woodward) flying his sea-plane over the picturesque isles of Scotland. He lands his plane just off of Summerisle, which is his intended destination. We find out that he is there investigating the disappearance of a local school-girl called Rowan Morrison. The matter was brought to his attention by a letter he received from someone on the island. The locals profess to know nothing about the girl however, and he is met with ignorance at every turn. Howie finds that Summerisle is quite a strange place, where the locals have an affinity for sex in public places and he is also troubled by the lack of churches or religion.
After some more probing he is informed that the girl was alive, but is now dead. He then needs the permission of the island’s leader Lord Summerisle (Lee) in order to exhume her body. After that things just get weirder and weirder. Howie discovers that even though you may love God, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he loves you back.
The acting in the film is first-rate. Woodward is an excellent lead and plays the part of a pious man to perfection. Britt Ekland, playing a lusty barmaid, also scores well, despite her voice being quite obviously dubbed. Christopher Lee gives a mesmeric performance in one of his most iconic roles. His authoritative voice is ideal for the role of Lord Summerisle. He also gets to show off his fine singing and actually looks okay in a kilt.
The key to this movie is atmosphere. It permeates every frame and leaves a lasting impression. The film’s pacing is superb also. This is a horror picture, but it is not full of idiotic teenagers or disgusting violence. Relying on atmosphere, mystique and good old fashioned weirdness, Robin Hardy created a masterpiece.
The Wicker Man has many memorable scenes, not least the incredible finale, which is shockingly vivid. The movie also has many songs which fit the film in a pleasing way.
As you probably know Christopher Lee passed away recently, so what better way to celebrate his fantastic legacy than by watching his towering performance. Once you have seen this film you will not forget it in a hurry, I promise you. Finally, please avoid the horrendous American remake, starring Nicolas Cage. Seriously! It is one of the worst films and remakes of all times. Beg, borrow or steal the original now!