When I first wrote about the up-coming The Wicker Man: Final Cut, DVD/Blu-ray I wasn't sure if this would be the proper, high-quality restoration that fans of what may be Britain's finest horror film have long desired. As the film heads to a US theatrical release prior to its inevitable DVD release (still no specific date, but I've been told it will probably come out in December), the official press release had this to say:
"Butchered by its doomed UK distributor to fit on double bills, with
its original camera negative apparently lost, THE WICKER MAN has
gathered a devoted fan base over the past four decades, with the
complete version their Holy Grail. Some missing scenes were recovered
from an obsolete one-inch broadcast tape, but over the years there were
rumors of complete 35mm prints floating around.
"Earlier this year, the search intensified when worldwide rights
holder StudioCanal initiated a Facebook campaign to recover the missing
35mm material, resulting in the discovery of a 92-minute 35mm release
print at the Harvard Film Archive. This print was scanned and sent to
London, where it was recently inspected by director Robin Hardy, who
confirmed that it was the same cut he had put together for its American
distributor in 1979. This culminated in a digital restoration of the
complete U.S. theatrical version, which director Hardy recently anointed
as 'the final cut.'
"Hardy, now 83, has said of this restored version, 'It fulfills my vision.'"
So there you go...we will finally have a restored version of the film from a single clean source to replace our versions cobbled together from sources of widely varying quality. Full disclosure, I've also read that this version will be slightly shorter than the cobbled together one, omitting some footage of Sgt. Howie's plane trip to Summerisle, which director Robin Hardy deemed inessential. There won't be any previously unseen footage in this cut.
Amazon UK has also revealed the following specs about the 4-disc DVD/Blu-ray set:
• Disc 1
o The Final Cut
o Interview with Robin Hardy
o The music of The Wicker Man featurette
o Worshipping The Wicker Man - Famous fans featurette
o The restoration of The Wicker Man featurette
• Disc 2
o UK Theatrical Cut
o The Director's Cut (with audio commentary)
o Making of Audio Commentary short film
• Disc 3
o Burnt Offering: The Cult of The Wicker Man documentary written by Mark Kermode
o Interview with Christopher Lee & Robin Hardy (1979)
o Ex-S: The Wicker Man
• Disc 4
For Americans who can't wait for December, there's that theatrical release. From the press release: "Rialto will roll out the restored version beginning September 27 at
IFC Center, New York City, with runs in Los Angeles, Chicago,
Washington, DC, and other cities throughout the fall."
And now, the trailer: