Wicker Man, Man!
August 7, 2005 10:50 AM   Subscribe

"The music to The Wicker Man is quite extraordinary. I think it is probably the best music I've ever heard in a film. All the songs are so totally different from each other and yet they sum up the atmosphere of the scenes perfectly. What Paul Giovanni achieved is quite amazing and absolutely beautiful." -- Christopher Lee, July 2002
posted by ford and the prefects (23 comments total)
I think it is probably the best music I've ever heard in a film.

Well, Christopher Lee is insane. That's good to know, I guess. Explains a few things.
posted by jimmy at 11:15 AM on August 7, 2005

Britt Ekland was chosen as the innkeeper's daughter, Willow, to secure American interest. The fact that the latter could not produce a reasonable Scottish accent forced all of Ekland's dialogue to be dubbed in post-production (by actress and singer Annie Ross) - a large flaw in the final film. Another dialogue oddity in The Wicker Man is Ingrid Pitt's unexplained Polish accent!

I think it's funny that they would do damage to their film in order to secure a proper accent when these days (in North America, at least), there is only one accent it seems: foreign.

(hey, let's dub Patrick Stewart's voice for all ST episodes. you know, he really doesn't sound all that French)
posted by dreamsign at 11:19 AM on August 7, 2005

It really is an extraordinary soundtrack.
posted by Peach at 11:25 AM on August 7, 2005

Summerisle, Summerisle, Summerisle, Summerise!

How many viewers do you think were surprised to discover that, for all practical purposes, The Wicker Man is a musical? The cast even sings over the films horrific closing scene.
posted by maxsparber at 11:31 AM on August 7, 2005

Corn rigs and barley rigs and...corn rigs....
posted by kaseijin at 11:40 AM on August 7, 2005

The Sneaker Pimps did a cracking version of Willow's Song.
posted by Navek Rednam at 11:50 AM on August 7, 2005

He's right, it's an amazing soundtrack....there's something about the atmosphere of them which fits the isolated scottish island setting just perfectly. It actually reminds me of Boards Of Canada in feel, and all their stuff is written in a remote scottish studio, too...hmmm......
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:12 PM on August 7, 2005

The soundtrack is quite good. Christopher Lee's hair in this movie, not so much.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:46 PM on August 7, 2005

that corn rigs and barley rigs jam reminds me of "the greatest adventure" and some of the other misbegotten, wooly 70s folk jams of the rankin-bass era.

glenn yarborough is the pete seeger of the fantasy set.
posted by Hat Maui at 12:53 PM on August 7, 2005

Neat post. It's a fantastic period piece of a horror film, with true creepiness, a good mystery and lots of smutty sacrilege mixed in with the dated stuff. The story in the "atmosphere" link of how it was chopped without permission and then never properly released in the US borders on tragic; at least one DVD release comes with a documentary that's worth a viewing. Of course, there's now a U.S.-remake in the works (that won't be half as edgy, I'm sure).
posted by mediareport at 12:56 PM on August 7, 2005

Summer is a-cumen in
posted by Katemonkey at 1:25 PM on August 7, 2005

The Sneaker Pimps did a cracking version of Willow's Song.

They covered "Gently Johnny" as well.
posted by malocchio at 1:56 PM on August 7, 2005

I like it when Lee's gleefully sullen characterer intones: Animals are fine, but their acceptability is limited. A small child is even better, but not nearly as effective as the right kind of adult.

This aphorism has wide applicability.
posted by meehawl at 2:21 PM on August 7, 2005

mp3 links , i beg you !
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:21 PM on August 7, 2005

Here's one.
posted by maxsparber at 3:34 PM on August 7, 2005

What's interesting about this film is that although the setting is Scottish, the folklore and music are English. Lord Summerisle explains the practices were imported to this remote part of Scotland, and this mismatch (which may not be apparent to American viewers) really adds to the sinister atmosphere on the island.

Shocking wigs, but The Wickerman really is the very best.
posted by 6060842 at 3:42 PM on August 7, 2005

Love the movie -- hate the songs. Though I accept that the soundtrack works in the context of the movie, the songs remind me of foul sixties pestilences like the Incredible String Band, etc.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:03 PM on August 7, 2005

Extraordinarily embarrassing soundtrack would be closer to the truth. It's a unique movie though.
posted by w0mbat at 4:19 PM on August 7, 2005

The first couple seasons of Coupling reference this film often. They like it as well.
posted by shoepal at 6:42 PM on August 7, 2005

the folklore and music are English

If by "English" you mean a culture descended from the Germanic Angle invaders of southern Britannia, then I think you are mistaken. The film references a mishmash of various celtic images. The whole idea of the burning man as a vehicle for the immolation of live prisoners is single-sourced from the egoistic ramblings of the noted anti-celtic propagandist, Julius Caesar.

The classic image of a god's face used for the marketing of The Wicker Man is that of the face of the celtic god Nuada, or Nodens. One of myth's first cyborgs, this king of the Tuatha De Danaan lost his arm in combat against Sreng of the Fir Bolg, and had a silver replacement grafted by Dian Cecht and Creidhne. However, in an early version of the Fisher King myth, Nuada's physical imperfection rendered him incapable of ruling Ireland, and so he lost the kingship. After regaining a flesh-and-blood arm and his kingship, however, Nuada was killed by Balor of the Fomorians.

In any case, Nuada/Nodens is definitely not "English", and neither is the idea of the burning man. If you mean, instead, that this movie references the extinct culture of the Picts/Cruithne ("Priteni or Britani"), wiped out by the invading goidelic celtic Scotti/Sgaothaich from Ireland, then you might be on to something. However, because the Picts never developed a writing system, very little is known about their culture. The Scotti seem to have comprehensively replaced the indigeneous culture with their own Gaelic-derived culture.
posted by meehawl at 9:22 AM on August 8, 2005

You'll never hear thumping on the wall the same way again.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:32 PM on August 8, 2005

Ah yes, the wicker man.

My ancestors, I've read, did that sort of thing. So I might have a bit of a mean streak.
posted by troutfishing at 9:58 PM on August 8, 2005

meehawl, you're going too deep. He means in the whole corn rigs, maypole, morris dancing sense of the film, in which sense it is very much English.
posted by bonaldi at 10:58 AM on August 17, 2005

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