Just over 50 years ago, a script was starting to come together for director Robin Hardy’s debut feature. Inspired by ancient Pagan rituals, The Wicker Man came together with a star cast including Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland and of course Edward Woodward. Having enough confidence in the script written by Anthony Shaffer, the film went into production, with the result being the best film that Christopher Lee said he was ever involved in.
50 years later and The Wicker Man not only gained cult status, but became revered as one of the best British films of all time. However, it didn’t start out that way and the lightning in a bottle story of how it came about is fascinating.
The Wicker Man: 50th Anniversary Edition arrives on bluray on 25th September and it gives its audience everything they may have wanted from the film. Including the theatrical, director’s and final cut of the film, there are also hours of special features. Including a location guide with Robin Hardy’s son Justin, interviews with the director himself and Christopher Lee and even a documentary about the enduring power of Summerisle.
Fans of the cult movie can also find out many things that they may or may have not known during discussions of the film. Things such as the mystery of Britt Ekland’s bottom to the shocking way some of the film reels were discarded and even how it was marketed (or wasn’t, as the case may be).
Relegated to B-movie status before the main feature, The Wicker Man soon took on a life of its own as the word spread. Christopher Lee himself was involved in getting critics to see the film and it just feels like it was worth the effort.
Now, remastered into 4K, The Wicker Man is given the respect it deserves as it stands proudly with the best that British horror has to offer. Fans of the film can delve into the special features, but also enjoy the posters, art cards, special collector’s edition booklet and even a copy of the soundtrack which still sounds so good.
For a film that was brought out to so little confidence by its distributor who had only dealt with the Carry On films, it feels like it’s The Wicker Man’s day in the sun. Keep your appointment with The Wicker Man 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition and you’ll not regret your visit to Summerisle.
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