The conference produced two books, The Quest For The Wicker Man, History, Folklore and Pagan Perspectives and Constructing The Wicker Man, Film and Cultural Studies Perspectives.
Here are my notes on the first book. (Sometimes I quote them or come very close. I'll try to make it clear where I've done that vs my own notes.)
Benjamin Franks mentioned in an old thread about the two books that all the papers could be shared. Can that happen now?
“as to the "The Quest for 'The Wicker Man'" published by Luath, you'll have to contact Luath themselves (they are based in Edinburgh). I have a feeling they are sold out. There was some discussion about a revised edition, but the other editors and I were too busy at the time. If you can't get hold of it, if you contact the individual authors I am sure they will be happy to send you a copy of their chapters. I hope this helps.”
The Quest for the Wicker Man, Benjamin Franks, Stephen Harper, Jonathan Murray and Lesley Stevenson (eds.) Edinburgh: Luath Press Limited, 2006.
The cover uses two pictures. The top one is of P.C. McTaggert and Howie in the police car (John Brown pic 2412). The lower one is of Howie as Punch. (I am not sure which pic they used of Brown's but it's one of them. 2401-2404)
- “The Genesis of The Wicker Man" by Robin Hardy
- “The Wicker Man, May Day and the Reinvention of Beltane" by Richard Sermon (see separate doc/pdf)
- “Ritualistic Behaviour in The Wicker Man: A classical and carnivalesque perspective on 'the true nature of sacrifice'" by Paula James
- “Sacrifice, Society and Religion in The Wicker Man" by Luc Racaut
- “Anthropological Investigations: An innocent exploration of The Wicker Man culture" by Donald V. L. Macleod
- “The Folklore Fallacy: A folkloristic/filmic perspective on The Wicker Man" by Mikel J. Koven
- “The Wicker Man -- Cult Film or Anti-Cult Film? Parallels and paradoxes in the representation of Paganism, Christianity and the law" By Anthony J. Harper
- “The Wicca Woman: Gender, sexuality and religion in The Wicker Man" by Brigid Cherry
- “’Do As Thou Wilt': Contemporary Paganism and The Wicker Man" by Judith Higginbottom
- “Music and Paganism with Special Reference to The Wicker Man" by Melvyn J. Willin
(available as a download with registration here: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.406969)
- “Wicker Man, Wicker Music" by Cary Carpenter
- The book also includes an interview with Robin Hardy conducted by Jonathan Murray.
A review by Edmund P. Cueva, Xavier University, USA. " the text has eleven essays, which in general are well written and researched.”
The Wicker Man: Readings Rituals and Reactions conference, University of Glasgow Crichton Campus, July 14-15 2003. Ben Franks paper: Conflict between Fascism and Anarchism in The Wicker Man
also: MacLeod, D.V. (2006) Anthropological investigations: an innocent exploration of the Wicker Man culture.
local extras attended and sent in mementos (would love to see any evidence of that)
Paula James: willow as the cage? No, wicker.
Brigid Cherry: discusses female sexuality going unpunished. (How appropriate, Cherry…)
Keeping the Appointment, The Wicker Man: Rituals, Readings and Reactions -- An Interdisciplinary Conference, Dumfries, 14-15 July 2003, A report by Mikel J. Koven, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
The Hollywood Horror Film, 1931-1941: Madness in a Social Landscape by Reynold Humphries
The Quest for the Wicker Man edited by Benjamin Franks, Stephen Harper, Jonathan Murray and Lesley Stevenson
A review by Edmund P. Cueva
Professor Justin Smith (Participant), Jul 2003
‘Things that go clunk in the cult film text'
Priest who conducted exorcisms plans protest:
From Easter to Ostara: the Reinvention of a Pagan Goddess?
(I’ve written to him re: the book in the library.)
The Genesis of the Wicker Man - Robin Hardy
Shaffer and Hardy spent a “rather bibulous weekend” figuring out how the plot would work.
Peter Shaffer got CL to read the script (as hardy was in the hospital)
Howie needed to be Episcopal, as opposed to the Church of Scotland, for the sacrifice part of the communion service.
Filled with puzzles: woman with egg… wants us to be detectives…
13 musical numbers played by the town band…
Peter Shaffer de-bowlderized the Sharp songs….
Ritualistic Behaviour in The Wicker Man: A classical and carnivalesque perspective on 'the true nature of sacrifice'" by Paula James,
willow as wood
willow “does seem to be almost coalescing with her name in her weaving dance around the room”…
willow was an INFERTILITY symbol in ancient scapegoat observances…
willow for early Christians symbolized chastity!
Rowan, a newly fertile branch, Willow, an already blossomed symbol of the spring festival
Myrtle another teasing female….
May is the mother…
Miss Rose should be Howie’s ally (stiff, proper) but instead is the rationalizer…
cinematic Carry On capers…
“Use your bladder” = CL ad lib?
Does he wear policeman’s uniform under Punch costume? I don’t think so.
Howie singing the descant to The Lord’s My Shepherd unnerved all. It was EW’s idea.
Lee “betrays a flicker of anxiety” when Howie suggests that LS may be the next victim if the crops fail.
“Sacrifice, Society and Religion in The Wicker Man" by Luc Racaut,
law and religion
“Anthropological Investigations: An innocent exploration of The Wicker Man culture" by Donald V. L. Macleod
leaping over fire is associated w/ Beltane, popular in the highlands of scotland on the first of may.
is it not part of a policeman’s duty to anticipate a violent end for themselves? sacrifice themselves for society?
“The Folklore Fallacy: A folkloristic/filmic perspective on The Wicker Man" by Mikel J. Koven,
folklore and popular culture
golden bough story of wicker man sacrifice is legend, not history…
created a victorian view of what it would have been like
see commentary of 2001 warner home video dvd
folkloric amusement park!
“The Wicker Man -- Cult Film or Anti-Cult Film? Parallels and paradoxes in the representation of Paganism, Christianity and the law" By Anthony J. Harper
scene 10 entitled Lord Summerisle!?
A SKIN FOR DANCING IN: POSSESSION, WITCHCRAFT AND VOODOO IN FILM (2001) - TANYA KRZYWINSKA (see pdf)
Summerisle based on Findhorn?
the pub song is less successful than the mating snails in representing the island’s relaxed sexuality…
He wonders about what variety of Christianity the church scene is: Episcopal, RC, Free Kirk… stained glass windows and the communion service affect this.
A drama of ideas…
“The Wicca Woman: Gender, sexuality and religion in The Wicker Man" by Brigid Cherry
The main female characters in the film are sexually active, even predatory.
Flying to Summerisle, the plane passes over masculine rocks then feminine orchards and fields…. and the music changes when the scenery does, from mournful to melodic…
Howie’s making the cross out of the ruined apple crate is reasserting the masculine god? (Compared to all the female fertility symbols we’re seeing…)
The significant landmarks of Summerisle: the cliffs, beach, caves, standing stones as well as the crops have been coded as feminine?
The monster in the film is the female sexuality!
Willow was a heroine, trying to save Howie’s life by seducing him.
Folk traditions like the Padstow Obby, Abbots Bromley sword dance and Mummer’s Plays are enjoyed by modern day pagans.
Scene in the school room close to the world view of sexuality of pagans. (It’s such a short segment…)
Howie symbolizes everything they don’t like about Christianity.
Howie’s rejection of feminine wisdom makes him out to be foolish.
“Music and Paganism with Special Reference to The Wicker Man" by Melvyn J. Willin
(Much of it can be found here, somewhat reworked, starting on page 103
pagans like the Beatles and Pink Floyd!
Gently Johnny recorded at Shepperton but had to be re-recorded due to bad quality.
The band’s poor performance during the procession was more appropriate than the LSO since they were supposed to be amateurs.
For the public house scenes, students from the Royal College of Music were given traditional folk instruments to play…
The reintroduction of the drone produces a folk-like orientation that is in keeping with the pagan culture’s musical ethos.
The Landlord’s Daughter, an 18th century re-working of a Public Harlot ballad. (Can’t find much on Public Harlot ballads)
Goes over instrumentation of each song… mood
He played Willow’s song to students who’d never heard it. They said it was trance-like, mystical, good for a nature-based ritual?
Sumer Is Icumen In sung frenetically?
Shortest piece is 23 seconds, longest 4:04 (Willow’s Song). (Not including some of the incidental musical effects)
Procession is a pavane.
Wicker Man, Wicker Music - Gary Carpenter
See OST notes for details of some things…
Peter Shaffer worked closely with Paul G and Anthony Shaffer on the lyrics, some based on Burns songs but otherwise traditional, making them more contemporary
song melodies were original, the incidental music was “often not”.
pg 154 lists some sources for the music
- Mirie It Is
- Drowey Maggie, the Irish not the Scottish version√
- Robertson’s Rant, one of the few unadorned traditional Scottish melodies
- Summer is Icumen In
- Oranges and Lemons counterpointed with a faux Scottish jig√
- Bulgarian melody
- The Procession, a “liberal reworking of a traditional Scottish tune.” (Willy O Winsbury)√
diegetic vs non-diegetic (characters can hear vs not)
three recording studios used (= DeLane Lea (Wembley), Pye and Shepperton)√
Chéreau-type erotica? - French director of Intimacy, others
Paul G and Gary returned to De Lane studios to make an album of 8 songs, 4 per side. Paid for by Paul or Peter Snell?
Lesley Mackie was substituted for Rachel Verney in Willow’s Song. One other substitution?
Willow’s song was originally planned as a “vehicle” for Britt’s nascent singing career but she couldn’t sing.
Lesley sang opening credits.
Landlord’s Daughter - recorded wild and is out of time in the movie. (Looks good to me.) Paul used that tape which had him singing a verse for the OST. (We don’t hear Paul in the OST…)
Tinker of Rye had to be assembled. Written on location… Diane and Chris heard mono piano track in their earpieces. Paul and Gary only had the the voice tracks for the OST mix. Engineer Louis Austin edited it as best he could and Gary added a new stereo piano recording.
15ips stereo master disappeared. Gary had a simultaneously recorded 7&1/2 ips tape …
David Fanshaw did the restoration/digitization of other sources/cassettes Gary had…. (which titles? Would love to hear them now…)
a couple of tracks were re-recorded: The fanfare by Czech musicians. (explains the credits)
- See Cast and Crew, BBC 4, March 23, 2005
Interview with Robin Hardy by Jonathan Murray, July 15, 2003
(Footnote: Brown’s book contains some factual inaccuracies and “a perceived lack of analytical rigour.” !)
Deely had the Cannes WM pulled down…
Beachhead Properties. Robin sued them because they only showed the film twice, once in a San Diego drive-in in the middle of the night and once in Atlanta. (He saw the reports.) (Which theaters were they?)
Robin and Chris promoted the film in the US, going from city to city. (Where is the evidence of that?) Then finally to LA and NYC.
Footnote: Warner Home Video 2002 DVD release has two versions and “other related footage”…
Peter Shaffer was on-set whereas Tony was not, so Robin made script changes with Peter. (Tony was writing Hitchcock’s Frenzy.) Peter therefore played a major role in what ended up in the movie.
Opening thanks to LS/documentary graphic seemed like a good idea at the time.
Peter Shaffer wrote The Royal Hunt of the Sun, “one of the great Christian/pagan plays of the 20th century.”
Discusses Robin’s first choice of Michael York for Howie.
Study the footnotes…
- Ron Weinberg contacted Roger Corman to get print of Director’s Cut. (RH describes him as a student at the time. At the time of publishing this book he was VP for Abraxas.)
- See Collis - Up In Smoke for OST CD story. (Daily Telegraph, May 23, 1998, arts section)
- The novel was based on Tony’s screenplay and their original discussions they had about the story.