THE UNKINDEST CUTS
How the wicker man was slain
Notoriously, Hardy’s original cut of The
Wicker Man was drastically shortened by order of british lion’s incoming management – in order to undermine producer Peter Snell, Hardy believed. “they buried me as a director, because they said my film was unshowable. they said, ‘Who would want to see this picture? It’s weird. What’s it about? We don’t understand what it’s about.’ and nor did they – they had no idea what it was about. they then thought, ‘Well, if we make it shorter, it must be better shorter than if it were its present length…’ the film lost its opening mainland scenes, plus essential sequences such as lord Summerisle’s introduction, in which he sends a local boy to be sexually initiated by britt ekland’s Willow. Fortunately, the film is today available to view in two other versions – as a restored 99-minute Director’s Cut and latterly an intermediary “Final Cut”.