Back in May we told you about StudioCanal's efforts to find the original film materials relating to cult horror classic THE WICKER MAN, the 1973 tale about a policeman (Edward Woodward) sent to a remote island village in search of a missing girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed. With this year marking the 40th anniversary of the films release, StudioCanal set out to find the missing film material so they could release the “most complete version of the film possible”. We can all thank the movie gods now as the worldwide appeal to retrieve the missing film material has turned up an original print that will released by StudioCanal this autumn.
THE WICKER MAN: THE FINAL CUT will be released in UK cinemas on September 27, and on DVD/Blu-Ray set to release October 14 in celebration of the 40th anniversary. No word yet as to when it will hit North America, but it shouldn't be long after the UK release.
Studiocanal UK and director Robin Hardy took to Facebook with the news, with Hardy stating...
“StudioCanal contacted me last year in their search for the original materials that have been missing.
“I’m very pleased to announce that StudioCanal have been able to find an actual print of The Wicker Man, which is based on my original cut working with Abraxas, the American distributors, all those years ago.
“They plan, and this is the exciting bit, to actually release it. This version has never been restored before, has never been shown in UK theatres before, has never been converted to Blu-ray before.
“This version will - optimistically - be known as the Final Cut.”
THE WICKER MAN was originally released with minimal promotion as the second feature in a double bill with DON'T LOOK NOW, and the version that was exhibited to audiences was significantly shorter (at 88mins) than Hardy’s original vision (which topped out around 102mins). The negatives disappeared from storage at Shepperton Studios and were allegedly used as landfill in the construction of the nearby M4 motorway.
To celebrate this news I will be sacrificing any remaining copies I find of the horrible 2006 remake that starred Nicholas Cage to the great bonfire I plan on attending this weekend. I encourage you all to do the same.
We'll keep you posted on news regarding THE WICKER MAN: THE FINAL CUT as we hear it.