This updating of the hard-to-find 2000 edition of this volume will be a must-read for fans of The Wicker Man, the 1973 British thriller that has achieved cult status. Brown, a Scottish newspaper writer who is also clearly an ardent fan of the movie, chronicles its production—it was filmed entirely on location in Scotland, in frequently inhospitable weather conditions—and its troubled postproduction journey. According to Brown (who provides solid documentation throughout), the movie was butchered in editing, mishandled by its distributors, and nearly lost forever when a print of the original, unedited version was destroyed. The text features interviews with numerous participants in the movie—its director and writer, its stars, and many key people involved in the production—and is written in a lively, outspoken style (for example, the author describes the 2006 remake of the movie as “inconceivably feeble” and “a farcical anthology of mad vanity and B-movie cliché”). Devotees of The Wicker Man—and these number in the thousands—will flock to this insightful, highly detailed, and hugely entertaining book.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, December 2010.