The tape begins with Alex Cox’s first Moviedrome introduction, for Robin Hardy’s all singing all dancing pagan classic The Wicker Man.
Interestingly, after the introduction, recording switches, twice. So the ensuing film would seem to be the third recording of the film, I’ve no idea if this was a more complete version but that would make sense.
The Wicker Man is barmy. It’s got a bit of everything. Christopher Lee in a fright wig. Christopher Lee cross dressing (as part of a pagan ritual). Britt Ekland (and, reportedly, a body double) dancing and singing naked, driving poor, chaste Edward Woodward to distraction, while being dubbed into scots. Edward Woodward himself anchoring all this new age flim flam with a rock solid portrayal of a man with an immovable moral sense, and a dogged desire to find a missing schoolgirl, pursuit of which leads, eventually and inevitably, to the Wicker Man of the title, in an ending which, if you don’t know it already, still has the power to shock.
It’s the sign of a good film, that it can overcome the frankly cringeworthy folk music that threatens, at times, to turn it into a full blown musical.
I wonder if the Nicholas Cage remake is as good.
Following the movie is a trail for Saturday’s programmes, including Noel’s House Party and The Paul Daniels Magic Show.
Then BBC1 closes down with the National Anthem.
Moviedrome Genome: BBC Two England, 8 May 1988 23.00
Wicker Man Genome: BBC One London, 18 January 1992 0.00