Christopher Lee is extremely generous in saying: "it
is probably the best music I've ever heard in a film." Over the years
he's been very vocal on the subject of his admiration for the film and his
disapproval of its editing and distribution. Now that a Special Edition DVD
has come out presenting the film as originally intended, this complete album
must make Lee and fellow champions very pleased indeed. I too adore the film.
I'm also extremely partial to the use of this music in the film. But no, it's
not the bet music ever written. It just happens to be one of the most brilliantly
Songs in films can be a disastrous method of narrative supplement.
Unless you're an all-out Musical, or a spoof comedy crossing genre boundaries,
then I'm almost exclusively against the idea of songs being sung in film.
The self-contained universe of The Wicker
Man is perfectly suited to its jolly outbursts however. In fact,
there's only one Musical-like moment when Britt Eckland mimes "Willow's
Song". Giovanni's songs transcend mere narrative supplement and become
an enigmatic character all their own in amongst the mystery of Summerisle.
By the time of "Sumer Is A-Cumen In" the full horror of
that character is as frightening as the rapturous yet detached manner in which
its being sung.
The film's songs frequently eclipse mention of the score
proper, and that's a shame. From the deliberately misleading "Opening
Music" through to the last "Sunset", Giovanni's
underscore is just as subtly affecting on the viewer as the ditties. And now
that this music has finally been unearthed from its previously supposed hopelessly
lost state, it can be appreciated in all its restored glory. There's a terrific
story as to what has happened to the tapes of this score over the years. Instead
of repeating it here, I encourage you to read it for yourself inside the colourful
and sumptuous booklet. Silva's packaging of this release is exceptional by