The Silva version, while shorter in length, keeps the songs separate from the incidental sounds, effects, and dialogue, producing a more cohesive if conventional listening experience. It also includes the song "Gently Johnny," which appeared in a longer, later cut of the film and was therefore omitted from the original Trunk soundtrack. The other big difference is that the Trunk version is in mono and the Silva version in stereo. Also, despite the addition of "Gently Johnny," the Trunk version is still longer, as it contains much more incidental material.
So, which one to buy? Fans of traditional British folk music are advised to pick up the Silva release; soundtrack aficionados and seekers of curious sounds should go with the original on Trunk. Completists, of course, will need both, as each contains exclusive material. In any case, The Wicker Man is a stunning soundtrack. Paul Giovanni, together with Magnet, uses flutes, lyres, harmonicas, and guitars in a mixture of original and traditional material to create a mysterious and sinister world that comes to life apart from the film.
The pagan ways of the islanders would be conveyed to the audience as they followed Howie's attempts to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Howie would become ever more deeply embroiled in the bizarre ways of the locals, and eventually realise that the whole thing is a set-up: a trap to get him to the island. The community's crops have failed and the islanders want Howie as a human sacrifice to appease their gods and ensure bountiful harvests in the future.
The ultimate point the film was to make is this — what does Howie's religion albeit a more mainstream one than the islanders' actually count for if he is alone in a sea of different beliefs? Unless deities actually exist, the winner in a conflict of religions is simply the one that has the muscle to enforce his doctrine.
Auctoritas non veritas facit legem. The pagan details were to be entirely authentic; Shaffer's main research source being Sir James George Frazer's volume The Golden Bough which details how early myths, rites and pagan beliefs have fed into modern twentieth-century life. Hardy: "Everything you see in the film is absolutely authentic. The whole series of ceremonies and details that we show have happened at different times and places in Britain and western Europe.
What we did was to bring them all together in one particular time and place. The wicker man itself is quite real.
The Druids used the structure to burn their sacrificial victims. What we hoped would fascinate people is not that they would think these things are still going on in Europe, but that they would recognise an awful lot of these things as sort of little echoes from either out of childhood stories and nursery rhymes or things they do at various times of the year.
There are so many Christian holidays that are celebrated where there was previously a pagan feast. Easter is one of them, originally it Album) a hare feast. At Christmas, you set up a Christmas tree because that was what the goddess Hera worshipped.
Mistletoe is purely Druidic — it relates to the Golden Bough. My God, when you decorate your home for Christmas you Album) using nearly every pagan symbol there is!
To complement the authentic on-screen rituals, the film was to be set to an original folk-music score, composed and arranged by Paul Giovanni, an American musician who had earlier impressed Shaffer with his score for a "folk rock" version of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night on stage in Washington DC.
The finished script was presented to Snell, by this time head of British Lion, and received an enthusiastic reception. Lion was having its troubles at the time and thus it was asked that "the budget be kept low". Christopher Lee, having been involved in the project from the outset and keen to break out of the tired Hammer Dracula cycle which he felt had typecast him, was cast as the island's laird, Lord Summerisle.
Woodward was, in fact, third choice for the role: both David Hemmings and Michael York had already turned it down. Ingrid Pitt, another veteran of British horror, was signed on for the role of keeper of the island's records office — a "nymphomaniac librarian" as she put it. At this time, Pitt was the girlfriend of the head of exhibition at the Rank Organization, George Pinches, and it seems possible that her casting was an attempt to "butter up" Rank into choosing the film for its Odeon cinema chain.
That relationship aside, Anthony Shaffer would also later report that he entered Pitt's room one day during filming and found her in bed with Peter Snell, the film's producer. Diane Cilento at the time, Mrs Sean Connery; much later So Much More - Various - The Wicker Man (Music For Submission) (CDr be Mrs Anthony Shaffer was persuaded out of semi-retirement for the part of the island's schoolteacher, Miss Rose, after Shaffer had seen her some time previously on the London stage in Big Night.
The rest of the casting was more bizarre — mime-troupe leader Lindsay Kemp later to work in films with Derek Jarman was drafted to play the innkeeper, and Britt Ekland was chosen to play his voluptuous daughter, Willow.
Ekland seemingly could not produce a reasonable Scottish accent and so all of Ekland's dialogue had to to be dubbed in post-production by Glaswegian actress and singer Annie Ross ; with Ingrid Pitt — a Pole — already on board, there simply wasn't room for another unexplained foreign accent. Unfortunately, the crude dubbing of Willow's voice remains a large flaw in the final film. Filming took seven weeks during late autumn The shooting was done in some 25 locations, mostly around the film's base of Newton Stewart, Scotland; none of the filming was actually done on a real island.
Hardy: "In all the towns and villages where we shot, while all the buildings you see are real, frequently, if you turned the camera around, down the road might be some dreadfully modern little house which would spoil the whole effort.
Willow's Songmimed by Ekland and voiced by Scottish singer Annie Ross, has become a classic in its own right, covered by Sneaker Pimps and Doves; the movie has also inspired songs by Pulp and Iron Maiden. Previous attempts to stage The Wicker Man have stalled over failure to secure the rights to the music. Hemphill proudly promises that their version will feature every note of the original.
There is also, ominously, a full-sized wicker man currently being constructed in a workshop outside Edinburgh. The low-tech concept of an amateur dramatics society with limited funds is very much in keeping with a film created on the cheap.
The Wicker Man appeared at a time of crisis for the British film industry. Economics dictated that a movie set during May Day celebrations had to be shot in October, requiring armfuls of fake blossom to be stuck to trees.
According to legend, the masterprint ended up as landfill beneath the M4 motorway, and the work only managed to re-emerge when missing segments were patched in from a surviving videotape. This convoluted tale of destruction and rebirth has given rise to suggestions that there might be something supernatural about the film. Could there be some form of hex ensuring The Wicker Man's immortality?
Hemphill adds: "I was recently at a casting session and the director asked me what else I was working on. To soundtrack his unnervingly naturalistic sci-fi tale, director Jonathan Glazer deliberately chose a newcomer to film composition: fearless deconstructionist Mica Levy AKA Micachu. In musically expressing the experiences of predatory alien Scarlett Johansson, Album) says she drew inspiration from John Cage and the sounds of strip clubs. American songwriter Paul Giovanni composed its songs for the group Magnet in just seven weeks, drawing on Celtic traditions and verse.
Maestro of the heart, Morricone composed film scores that Album) viewers feeling simultaneously uplifted and unravelled.
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