Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man has become an unwavering classic that is still capable of chilling modern audiences. Yet, when the director spoke with ScreenAnarchy's Kurt Halfyard and Michael Guillen back in 2011, he ruefully observed, "The actual cut of the film which I consider to be my cut, as the director, was never shown in the UK at all. They only showed a sort of butchered cut which for some reason became quite popular."
Good news: Hardy's cut has been unearthed! Screen Daily has the story, in Hardy's own words:
"StudioCanal contacted me last year in their search for the original materials that have been missing.
"I'm very pleased to announce that StudioCanal have been able to find an actual print of The Wicker Man, which is based on my original cut working with Abraxas, the American distributors, all those years ago.
"They plan, and this is the exciting bit, to actually release it. This version has never been restored before, has never been shown in UK theatres before, has never been converted to Blu-ray before.
"This version will - optimistically - be known as the Final Cut."
It's a great film that stands the test of time, and I've bought a couple of different versions on DVD; the latest was a two-disc set that included information on the footage that was excised back in 1973. The original cut should be fascinating to see for those who are already familiar with the film, and perhaps a revelation to those who have never seen it before.