On Saturday night Fiona and I went to see SWEENEY TODD THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET with our friends Ali and David, and naturally I pumped them for suggestions for the blog here. This is Ali’s excellent proposal for a moment of cinema that warms the cockles and releases endorphins (which are stored in your cockles and released by heat).
THE WICKER MAN is still one of the few Scottish films that Scottish people like. Because it’s actually unusual, intelligent and entertaining, I suppose (there’s no accounting for taste). Those in charge of promoting Scottish cinema have, in their wisdom, chosen to concentrate on making dull, depressing and anti-cinematic films, so it’s no wonder that Robin Hardy, director of this little classic, has struggled to find funding for a WICKER MAN follow-up.
Of course, THE WICKER MAN is an English production set and filmed here, rather than an indigenous film. As such, it’s part of a small group of foreign portrayals of Scotland that Scots actually like. WHISKY GALORE and LOCAL HERO have Scottish or part-Scottish directors. The success of BRAVEHEART here testifies to our healthy population of patriotic idiots.
A lot of people have been inspired by this film over the years. Jonathan Ross credits Britt Ekland’s performance for “helping me through those difficult teenage years.” Ewen McGregor can be seen watching it in SHALLOW GRAVE, and chortling, the way all Scots instinctively do when a policeman is immolated. For those of us in the film industry, it’s a monument to the principle that the words Scottish and Cinema CAN go together.
Ali is a brilliant costume designer:
She’s dressed WICKER MAN star Christopher Lee in GREYFRIAR’S BOBBY, and was recently chatting to Robin Hardy about COWBOYS FOR CHRIST, his follow-up to TWM. She found him fun and extremely energetic — which he’ll need to be.
But her reason for picking this moment is the perfect encapsulation of the Cinema Euphoria Credo — it makes her happy.