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StudioCanal Launches Restoration Campaign for Cult Horror Classic 'The Wicker Man'

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 9, 2013 at 1:13PM

StudioCanal has launched a worldwide appeal to retrieve original missing film materials for Robin Hardy's 1973 cult horror classic "The Wicker Man." They want to celebrate the film's 40th anniversary by restoring and release the most complete definitive version possible of the film.
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THE WICKER MAN: A SHORT HISTORY

In 1973, Robin Hardy's debut film THE WICKER MAN fell victim to a boardroom takeover at distribution company British Lion, and had its release temporarily shelved. A finished version of the film that director Hardy was happy with had been delivered with a running time of 102 minutes.

When it did finally reach UK cinemas that year, with little fanfare or promotion, and as part of a Double Bill with DON'T LOOK NOW, 15 minutes had been cut, leaving the film's running time a trim 88 minutes. Director Robin Hardy and the other filmmakers had not been involved and did not approve of this new version.

A few years later when Hardy tried to track down his original version, he was told that all the negative trims from it that had been stored at Shepperton Studios had been thrown away, and the only "original negative" was now the 88-minute version. He finally managed to ascertain that Cult US Director Roger Corman still had a print of the full-length version, and this was used for the US theatrical release. Corman's print has been missing since the 1980's and only poor quality 1" video material is known to exist of this version.

This article is related to: Horror , Classics


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.