The Wicker Man (1973)

R   |    |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller


The Wicker Man (1973) Poster

A puritan Police Sergeant arrives in a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl who the locals claim never existed.


7.5/10
68,704

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26 November 2005 | drednm
10
| Beware Shortened Versions
On an island off the Scottish coast is a very strange community that Sgt Howie (Edward Woodward) ventures to in search of a missing teenaged girl. On landing he is astonished to find that the crowd of old men has never heard of the girl. His quest will be stranger yet.

The island is "ruled" by Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) who is the descendant of a scientist who introduced exotic cultivars of fruits and re-introduced druidic or pagan beliefs. As the island prospered with its exported fruits the paganism became more deep rooted. The Sgt finds more and more mystery as he continues his quest for the girl.

Pitting Christianity against early pagan druidic rituals is just one of the intellectual pleasures of this cult film. As the local teacher (Diane Cilento) tells the Sgt, it's easier for a child's mind to understand reincarnation than resurrection. It gets them past all those rotting bodies.

Part mystery story, part horror, The Wicker Man blends several genres into one fascinating film. The May Day Festival is a throwback to pagan rites of a thousand years ago (a bit of which continues today in Morris dancing) and are a highlight of this film. The bizarre procession to the sea to offer sacrifices to the sea gods and sun god is historically accurate and sets up a surprise ending not to be forgotten.

Woodward is splendid as the pompous officer who clings to his religion. Lee is terrific as the eccentric lord. Cilento is a hoot as the teacher. Britt Ekland is the landlord's daughter Willow and Ingrid Pitt is the librarian. Blending folk and Enya-like music (by Paul Giovanni), director Robin Hardy creates a bawdy pagan world in the midst of the 20th century. The Celtic symbolism (Nuada the Sun God) is beautiful and helps set the tone.

A visual treat with great music, this film really gives the viewer something to think about. Highly recommended.

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Box Office

Budget:

$810,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,493 29 September 2013

Gross USA:

$60,891

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$98,201

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