Thursday, October 14, 2021

#2,637. The Wicker Man (1973) - Spotlight on England


It had been a while since I last watched The Wicker Man, and I’d forgotten how great it is. Combining elements of horror, mystery, even a musical, director Robin Hardy’s film (from a script by Anthony Shaffer) pulls you in with its story before knocking you out with one of the most chilling finales in cinematic history. 

Police officer Howie (Edward Woodward) visits the small Scottish Island of Summerisle to search for a missing girl named Rowan Morrison. 

During his investigation, the devoutly Christian Howie is shocked and appalled to discover that the residents of this small community, led by the charismatic Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), live a pagan lifestyle, worshiping sun and water Gods and engaging in all manner of “lewd” behavior. 

What’s more, not a single person on Summerisle, not the Librarian (Ingrid Pitt), the barmaid (Britt Eklund), or the missing girl’s supposed mother (Irene Sunters), claim to have any knowledge of Rowan Morrison, going so far as to say that nobody by that name has ever lived there! 

Woodward is at his absolute best as Howie, a self-righteous officer of the law whose personal beliefs give him the strength to carry on under trying circumstances, and Lee is equally superb as the friendly Lord Summerisle, a man with his own set of values of which he, too, feels strongly. Their scenes together are outstanding, and I enjoyed the film’s musical asides as well, my favorite being the bawdy number in the bar, where the male patrons sing about barmaid Britt Eklund’s promiscuous ways. 

It’s the final act, however, that makes The Wicker Man an unforgettable experience. Most of you know what I’m talking about, but if you haven’t seen the movie, I advise you to go into it cold; don’t watch trailers or read anything that might spoil it. The ending of The Wicker Man is sure to shake you; I knew what was coming this time around, and it shook me all the same!
Rating: 10 out of 10

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