Happy May Day, everyone. As I often do, I watched 1973's The Wicker Man for it, this time while enjoying some wheat biscuit KitKats:
Who says KitKats have to be junk food*?
麦の恵みの translates to something like "The blessings of wheat", according to Google, so maybe it's not inappropriate accompaniment to The Wicker Man. 麦, or "mugi", is a word I've noticed tends to be used for wheat, barley, straw, or oats. A very popular, traditional tea is mugicha, with cha meaning tea, and in this case the mugi means barley. It's this ambiguity about "mugi" that's made it difficult to tell people what oatmeal is.
I normally watch the director's cut of The Wicker Man but my DVD is back in California. Amazon Prime is currently streaming the theatrical release so I settled for that and, you know, I think I actually kind of like the theatrical release. The director's cut fleshes things out more and there's more interesting detail about Summerisle--particularly good is the scene where Christopher Lee brings a virgin boy to Britt Ekland to break his cherry--but there's a narrative efficiency to the theatrical version that adds to the air of mystery while not allowing the viewer to become too comfortable. It's kind of intriguing, too, that we don't know anything about Howie (Edward Woodward) at the beginning. His appearance feels very abrupt and sort of gives a little credence to the idea that he's an arrogant interloper. However, I find the idea that Howie is a representative of Christian, white male evil holds no water. He's looking for a missing girl amid a populace that seems increasingly deranged, I don't think he oversteps in the slightest.
It's interesting to consider the movie in the context of the Manson murders which I suspect must have been somewhere in the filmmakers' minds. They both seem examples of hippie mysticism gone very wrong.
In addition to the great Christopher Lee, The Wicker Man features a dream team of British genre movie babes in Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, and Diane Cilento. They all have important roles but I kind of wish they'd had more time all together on screen.
Has anyone else noticed how often Christopher Lee wore houndstooth?
*This is still junk food.