We learned last month that Robin Hardy's cult classic THE WICKER MAN was getting a Blu-ray release in the UK on October 14th after its brief run in theaters, but now we've got some great news for US fans as it has just been announced that the film will also be getting a theatrical release in the States by New York-based distributor Rialto Pictures. Go ahead and let that sink in.
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 35 mm 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.”
After receiving an anonymous letter about a missing 12-year-old girl, devoutly Christian cop Edward Woodward travels by seaplane to a remote Scottish island to investigate. But the islanders welcome neither his badge nor religious devotion, for laird of the isle Christopher Lee and his devoted followers worship only the pagan gods of old – and those gods demand a sacrifice. Woodward fears for the missing girl’s life and follows every possible lead to find her – despite the islanders’ interference – before she becomes a human sacrificial lamb.
Below we've got a list of the dates and cities where you can check this one out on the big screen in the US.
- September 27 – October 3 NEW YORK, NY IFC Center
- October 25 – 31 CHICAGO, IL Music Box Theatre
- October 28 – 31 PITTSBURGH, PA Pittsburgh Filmmakers at Regent Square
- October 31 HUNTINGTON, NY Cinema Arts Centre
- November 1 – 7 LOS ANGELES, CA Landmark Theatres – Nuart
- November 8 – 14 PHILADELPHIA, PA Landmark Theatres – Ritz at the Bourse
- November 22 – 24 SILVER SPRING, MD AFI Silver Theatre
As for the Blu-ray, here's what you can expect: THE WICKER MAN Blu-ray will be a three disc set, with the first disc including "The Final Cut" (HD), the UK theatrical Cut (HD) & the Director’s Cut (HD but with seamless branching to extra scenes in SD only) & audio commentary for Director’s Cut. The second disc is said to include supplemental features, but they have not yet been detailed. Disc 3 will contain the movie soundtrack. The Blu-ray will hit the UK on October 14th.