1975 Dir: Robin Hardy With: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt
Ekland, Diane Cilento.
to define The Wicker Man, as to what type of movie it is. It's not really a horror film, not as such - it's more like a pagan musical!
Edward Woodward is a policeman, Sgt Howie, who travels to Summerisle to investigate the disappearance
of a young girl, Rowan Morrison, after receiving an anonymous letter posted to him personally.
When he arrives he discovers that the locals are a weird lot (and that's an understatement!) No one on the island claim to have ever seen the girl in question and when Howie visits
the Morrison family he is taken aback when post mistress May Morrison (the probable mother) claims to not recognize a picture
of Rowan. At the back of the shop Howie encounters May's daughter Myrtle who
informs the police officer that she does know Rowan and that she is a hare.
Howie realises something is not quite right with the good people of Summerisle. He gets a room at The Green Man, where he is treated to a rendition of a bawdy song about the sexual exploits
of the landlord's daughter Willow (Brit Ekland) while she listens.
The landlord's daughter also likes to dance naked in her room at night, and bang on the walls while
she sings a song - much to the devout Christian, Howie's frustration as he is trying to settle down for the night. This he finds hard to do, as the shameless landlord's daughter likes to entertain young boys in her room
Howie continues his investigation. He discovers that
Rowan did exist after all, and that she died a few months earlier. He asks a
schoolteacher, who is giving the children a lesson on the phallic significance of the maypole.
Our police officer notices that one desk is empty and when he checks the register he sees Rowan Morrison's name there.
Howie questions whether Rowan might be buried in the churchyard. The teacher replies that, 'The
building attached to the ground in which the body lies is no longer used for Christian worship, so whether it is still a churchyard
Our police officer drops in on Lord Summerisle (who is Christopher Lee and turns out to be even
madder than the rest of the little pagan community!). Summerisle explains about
the paganism on the island and that it was started by his grandfather. Howie
protests about a group of girls dancing around and jumping naked over a fire in some kind of fertility rite outside:
Summerisle gives his permission for Howie to exhume the body of Rowan Morrison, but when he does
so the police officer finds the body of a hare in the coffin.
May Day celebrations arrive and Howie disguises himself in one of the costumes to find out what
the villagers are up to. It seems those busy villagers have been up to plenty,
and have constructed a giant Wicker Man (some people are satisfied with just making wicker baskets!)
Unbeknown to Howie the villagers have another trick up the sleeve, concerning the sacrifice they
wish to burn in the Wicker Man (I don't want to give anything away, but the sacrifice went on to star in the television series
The Wicker Man is a Classic! Worth watching to see Britt Ekland dancing in the nude (who cares if she was dubbed!) and Christopher Lee
is brilliant as the loony pagan Lord of the island.