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The Wicker Man

Robin Hardy’s bizarre 1973 cult classic is the oddest of the ‘Summer of British Film’ weekly reissues. Set on the Western Isles of Scotland, it poses a burning question for investigating mainland Sergeant Edward Woodward: could a missing 12-year-old girl have been sacrificed in some creepy, ancient fertility rite by the libidinous, pre-feudal inhabitants? Anthony Shaffer’s script – written at the end of an annus mirabilis in which he also wrote ‘Sleuth’ and ‘Frenzy’ – brews together a heady concoction of police procedural and post-Hammer horror with a pagan pastiche of counter-cultural faddishness, with scenes of dancing naked pregnant women in stone circles or a ranting, windswept Christopher Lee in drag beautifully filmed by Harry Waxman and accompanied by Paul Giovanni’s risible ’60s-style folk revival soundtrack. Essentially, it’s an insane guilty pleasure, still enjoyable for its delightfully eccentric casting – Britt Ekland’s fine Scottish accent and Hammer star Ingrid Pitt’s dour librarian – and for the funniest, creepiest pub scene in British movies outside of next week’s reissue, ‘Withnail & I’.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday August 24 2007
Duration: 84 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Robin Hardy
Screenwriter: Anthony Shaffer
Cast: Edward Woodward
Britt Ekland
Diane Cilento
Ingrid Pitt
Christopher Lee
Lesley Mackie
Walter Carr
Lindsay Kemp

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Richard Clay

Two deluded fanatics in a struggle that will prove fatal to at least one - probably both - of them. The kitsch black comedy of the first hour or so burns away in the loathesome nastiness of the last few minutes. What could have been nothing more than an amusing 70s period piece is given a touch of real tragedy by Edward Woodward's astonishing central performance.

Richard Clay

Two deluded fanatics in a struggle that will prove fatal to at least one - probably both - of them. The kitsch black comedy of the first hour or so burns away in the loathesome nastiness of the last few minutes. What could have been nothing more than an amusing 70s period piece is given a touch of real tragedy by Edward Woodward's astonishing central performance.

Simon

Repeatedly watchable, unique, memorable, still unsurpassed and with a terrific, haunting soundtrack.

Simon

Repeatedly watchable, unique, memorable, still unsurpassed and with a terrific, haunting soundtrack.