The Wicker Man
t’s funny how things can turn out for the better—if you only wait 30 years. The 1973 classic, cult-shockerThe Wicker Man was a truly inspiring film, not just for its corker of an ending, but also for its fantastic, long lost soundtrack.
While the film was recently remastered and released on DVD a year ago, the soundtrack has quite a tale that goes with it. Written by the late Paul Giovanni, the music was thought to be destroyed or buried. Never released as an album when the film came out, in large part due to the negative attention the film received, the soundtrack never saw release until 1998, when Trunk Records putout a less-than-stellar version that was far from complete. Gary Carpenter, the associate music director on the film, turned up with the original masters, which eventually made their way to Silva Screen, who have released a mastered, digitized and clean version that sounds as wonderful as it did in the film.
Some people may wonder why this album is such a big deal, considering the film has always been hailed as a cult classic. Is it worth all of the trouble? Well, yes, very much so. The Wicker Man is some of the most unreal music you could ever hear. Comical and surreal at times, it makes great background music because of its relatively peaceful quality. Performed by some music students under the guise of Magnet, the music is like the strange island in the film: serene and acquiescent, but also suspicious at the same time.
For someone who hasn’t seen The Wicker Man, the music will appear to be nothing more than deranged, medieval hippie music. But, for those who have seen the film (and especially those who love the film), the songs are breathtaking and a great tool for reminiscing over some terrific moments in the film. For instance, “The Tinker of Rye” captures the moment where Lord Summer isle (Christopher Lee) and his missus serenade a confused Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward). And perhaps most entertaining is the opus of the pub dwellers, “The Landlord’s Daughter”—a picture perfect description of Britt Ekland’s curvaceously troublesome character, it is recommended for a great laugh.
The legend of this soundtrack is enough reason to buy it alone. However, it’s the sheer creepy sensation that is in the air when the music is on that makes The Wicker Man an essential album, let alone soundtrack.
Reviewed by: Cam Lindsay
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01