The Harvard Film Archive recently discovered within its collection a rare, perhaps unique, 35mm print of the U.S. release version of The Wicker Man, the subject of an ardent search by the film distributor, StudioCanal UK who for years had been hunting the mythologized longer version of Robin Harvey's 1971 cult classic. Cut down on the eve of its UK release by distributors weary of its 99-minute length, the longer edit was released briefly in the US before being minimally reedited once again: the version which has miraculously materialized at the HFA in somewhat delicate condition. The original full-length cut may still remain missing, yet the HFA’s 91.5-minute print has been digitally restored by StudioCanal and will be theatrically released on DCP in theaters this fall.
An investigator’s trip to a remote Scottish island searching for a missing girl – who may or may not exist – leads him to a bizarre world of Celtic pagan rituals, agricultural conspiracies and a spiritual crisis. With Britain’s Dracula Christopher Lee at the heart of its darkness, The Wicker Man unsettles horror film tropes to craft a uniquely terrifying fantasy. The Harvard Film Archive is thrilled to have played a vital role in the lore of the horror classic and is pleased to screen this rare print for one night. — Brittany Gravely
Sunday December 21 at 9pm
Directed by Robin Hardy. With Edward Woodward, Diane Cilento
UK 1973, 35mm, color, 92 min