The Wicker Man set is a true MUST-BUY

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jon Robertson, Aug 10, 2001.

  1. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Ladies and gents, having just recieved my copy of The Wicker Man 2-disc set in the post, I have nothing but the highest praise.
    The box is a stunner - the front and side artwork literally burned in to the wood. The wood itself is balsa (I think), and it has a brass catch on the side.
    Opening reveals two postcards of the original poster artwork, with chapter listings for both versions printed on the reverse. The discs are held in a 2-disc jewel case, encased in a see-through plastic holder, that keeps it securely in place.
    The video quality of the theatrical version is beautifully sharp; the colours are correct, there is terrific detail and contrast, barely any print damage and grain only rears its ugly head during night-time sequences. Flesh-tones often appear slightly pink, but that's probably due to the freezing conditions the film was made under!
    The 5.1 sound is very effective, clear and sharp, while not a sonic whirlpool sounds splendid, considering the source material.
    The extras include an absolutely fantastic 35-minute documentary which covers every single base I could think of, in regards to the film, it's reputation and troubled past, with an incredible array of interviewees. This is one of the best documentaries I've seen on a DVD for a very long time, despite its relatively short running time.
    Also included is a theatrical trailer of very good anamorphic quality, almost as good as the feature itself, a poor quality TV spot which is pretty bad, four one-minute radio spots and ten 30-second radio spots, excellent talent biographies and a rather surprising hidden feature - a 25-minute episode of a syndicated (?) TV show "Critic's Choice" from, I would guess, the 1977 American re-release, featuring Christopher Lee and director Robin Hardy talking all about the film. The quality is very poor, but the interview most certainly is not! This is accessible from the Extras menu, and is so easy to find, I think let you all find out for yourselves.
    The second disc contains the paydirt - the full-length 99-minute director's cut. This is curious, as it has always been quoted as 102 minutes, but as far as I could see, it was totally complete, with full-length songs, and every single difference that was detailed here , with the exception of one title card that credits the band that played the score, which, I suspect, was left as it was in the 87-minute version for legal reasons.
    The quality is exactly what you would expect - exactly the same for the majority of the film as the theatrical version, but AB had to use a 1" analog videotape master for the previously missing scenes. There is a shift in quality that doesn't exactly need a carefully trained eye, but it's all fairly painless and exactly what should have been with Manhunter. Basically, the colours shift, grain is upped and detail is very poor, but since the film needs the scenes, I have no qualms.
    The only downside to the release are the menus on the first disc (Theatrical Version) for reasons I shan't go into here.
    I will recommend however going directly to Title #8 on the first disc containing the Theatrical Version and Title #1 on the second disc containing the Extended Version as soon as the Anchor Bay copyright warnings and logos come up (you can skip these by pressing Stop).
    The film itself is a glorious masterpiece - witty, erotic, chilling and with an atmosphere quite unlike any other film of the time, with a twist ending that is truly a stroke of genius.
    It's also not a strict horror film, but a genre-less classic, spellbinding from the word go. Part horror, part fantasy, part musical, part melodrama. These are not the words of a deranged fanboy - it was voted #96 in the top 100 British films of all time, and I am certain, had the full-length director's cut been in circulation all these years, would have been much higher up in that list.
    This set is as the best way to get into the film as possible - just make sure you get the limited edition. The extended version is the correct version of the film, not the shamefully abridged 87-minute cut.
    If it were not for a certain Orson Welles film coming my way, this would undoubtedly be my favourite disc of the year. My highest recommendations.
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 20, 2001 at 07:18 PM]
     
  2. Jeff Swindoll

    Jeff Swindoll Supporting Actor

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    quote: exactly the same for the majority of the film as the theatrical version, but AB had to use a 1" analog videotape master for the previously missing scenes. [/quote]
    I may be wrong, but this footage only exists on videotape. So AB really didnt have a choice. The original uncut negative is lost.
    Cant wait for my Wicker Man LE [​IMG]
    Cheers.
    ------------------
    Dear MGM : Quality over quantity & Consistency!
    I didnt play Dungeons and Dragons all those years and not learn something about courage.
    --Bernie Faulkner
    [Edited last by Jeff Swindoll on August 10, 2001 at 08:26 AM]
     
  3. Richard Smith

    Richard Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Jon,
    Could you please tell me where you got this from? I've been looking forward to it for ages and it would be great if I could get it a bit early [​IMG]
    Cheers
    Richard
     
  4. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Jeff - I never said they did have a choice! [​IMG]
    My opinion has not changed. It's a winner, all the way.
    ------------------
    "Here lieth Ash Buchanan, protected by the Ejaculation of Serpents" - coming to DVD on 21st August 2001
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 11, 2001 at 09:28 AM]
     
  5. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Jon - thanks for taking the time to write a solid review. [​IMG]
    I am so looking forward to seeing this movie again!
    BTW, I would categorize The Wicker Man as a chiller - probably the best ever made.
    And despite Kane, this is destined to become my favourite DVD release of the year. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Edited my review to give a hint of advice for those who have never seen the flick.
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 20, 2001 at 07:20 PM]
     
  7. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    I've got mine pre-ordered - it should arrive along with Sullivan's Travels and My Man Godfrey right around my birthday!
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    "Death's at the bottom of everything, Martins - leave death to the professionals!"
    "Mind if I use that line in my next Western?"
     
  8. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    um,
    all the other MUST BUYS are false?
    ------------------
    Yumbo - IMDVD
     
  9. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    What...a guy can't take a few grammatical liberties to show his appreciation? [​IMG]
     
  10. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Thanks Jon, for this great review. Can't wait 'till my package arrives!
    And a special thanks for warning about the spoiler. Not all members of my family have seen the movie, so I'll skip the menue (or do whatever is necessary secretly in advance).
    Thanks again!
    Cees
    PS And uhm.. if the menu of Citizen Kane is blabbing about a certain rosebud, or worse, show a certain item, will someone please warn us too? Thanks! [​IMG]
    C.
     
  11. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Just a quick word of appreciation for the posts above and below!
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 20, 2001 at 07:21 PM]
     
  12. Bob_Mandel

    Bob_Mandel Stunt Coordinator

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    I wholeheartedly agree with the assessment here, and if my sister didn't persuade me to, I would have NEVER given this title up to her for review. (It really didn't help this was #46/50,000!!) Britt Eckland...grrrrrr! A superb all-around job by AB, well deserved of our Spotlight disc of the week beginning tomorrow. The box is not balsa though... it's sturdier.
    ------------------
    editor,
    http://www.digitallyobsessed.com
     
  13. Sebastian_M

    Sebastian_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Back when this was announced I almost pre-ordered the wooden one from Amazon. But knowing that they ship pre-orders on their release date and that I could probably find it at a better price when it was released I didn't pre order. Anyone find this for a really good price? I haven't seen the actual film yet so I don't want to spend too too much.
    Thanks,
    Seb
    ------------------
    All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
    From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
    A light from the shadows shall spring;
    Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
    The crownless again shall be king.
     
  14. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Deep Discount DVD has it for about $24 shipped....it's well worth every penny of it. Beautiful presentation, in a pine box, with joined corners, metal hinges and clasp....with 2 discs with the cool wicker sun logo on each, and great content. Don't wait for the prices to skyrocket on eBay; this is a keeper.
    ------------------
    "This movie has warped my fragile little mind."
     
  15. Andrea W

    Andrea W Supporting Actor

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    Thanks so much for the warning about the menus. I haven't seen this movie yet and am really excited about it. Which version would you recommend watching FIRST (director's cut or theatrical)?
    ------------------
    http://darius.mobius-soft.com/~andrea/ht/
     
  16. debi_lee

    debi_lee Stunt Coordinator

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    andrea -
    i'm chiming in because i think everyone will tell you to view the long version first... i think it's the other way round, esp. for the first time. the flow of the story is not hindered by what is missing...and then once you know the story, the extra footage will be more of a treat... but that's MHO.
    The one thing you must NOT do is go through ANY of the extras first...they're rife with spoilers.
    Enjoy it!
    d.
     
  17. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    I would recommend the extended cut first, so your jaw can drop when you see how much they savagely removed from the theatrical version!
    I sort of understand what Debi Lee is saying, but I think that you should fall in love with the proper version first. And believe me, with this film, it's love at first sight!
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on August 20, 2001 at 06:27 PM]
     
  18. Gerard Priori

    Gerard Priori Stunt Coordinator

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    With THE WICKER MAN, the long version is the ONLY way to go. The cut version is, in my opinion, totally worthless and not worth sitting through.
    -Jerry
     
  19. Andrea W

    Andrea W Supporting Actor

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    I can't believe it. I can't find one store in San Antonio that has the limited edition. Argh! I was so pysched to watch this tonight.
    ------------------
    http://darius.mobius-soft.com/~andrea/ht/
     

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