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Version summaries (with movie dates) for the Director's Cut, Theatrical, Shaffer script and novelization.

See these excellent comparisons of the Theatrical vs the Final Cut and the Theatrical vs the Director's Cut. as well as Steve P's info.

See also a chart that shows the locations for each version.

Longest scene: from when Howie and Rowan emerge from the cave to the burning of the Wicker Man, 15:40 in all versions. (Also the most edits with 212)

(Formatting needs to be fixed)

Director’s Cut

Day 1 (April 28, 1973, Saturday)

Plane lands

Night 1

Howie and McTaggert drive somewhere. (Flashback or another day: scenes of church)

Day 2 (April 29, 1973, Sunday)

Postman delivers letter, Howie flys off. Lands in Summerisle. Goes to May Morrison's shop, (Myrtletoe?)

Night 2  

Howie goes to the pub for the first time. Ash Buchanon gets deflowered. "Only be sure you are ready for tomorrow's tomorrow." "The day of death and rebirth?." "Yes and for somewhat more of a serious offering than tonight." Tomorrow's tomorrow. May day.

Day 3 (April 30, 1973, Monday)

Opens with Maypole/Willow bringing Howie breakfast in bed. You'll be leaving tonight. We'll see. School, May Morrisons shop again, Dr Ewan, "Librarian"/registrar of public records, chemist's shop, on the way to castle: topiary, fire dance, castle/Lord Summerisle,

Night 3

Howie and gardener unearth hare in coffin, Howie goes to castle and confronts Summerisle and Miss Rose, Howie breaks into chemeist's and develops last year's pic, (flashback to earlier in the day and close up of calendar that has May Day circled as Summerisle talks of the May Day celebrations tomorrow. Therefore this is April 30, 1973.) Willows dance.

Day 4 (May Day, 1973, Tuesday)

Sunrise, kids chanting we carry death out of the village, Howie reads up on May Day in library, Howie tries to fly out, chases Hobby, celebration  in courtyard, (3pm sharp procession begins), May Morrison's shop again, unmasks children and searches, Howie gets some rest, procession, head chopped off, offerings, sees Rowan, gets caught and burned. Sunset.

(Where were you April 28 through May 1, 1973?)

Final Cut

Sunday, April 29,1973

Howie in church, Plane takes off, flies over islands, flies over orchards, lands in Summerisle harbor, talks with Harbor Master and villagers, walks into town, talks with May Morrison then Myrtle

Sunday night

Howie enters the Green Man, The Landlord’s Daughter (10:05 pm according to the clock on the wall.), has dinner, walks outside, sees orgy, couples watering graves, naked woman on grave, goes back to the Green Man, Gently Johnny, Ash presented to Willow

Monday, April 30

Maypole, Willow washing tables, (Maypole again), Schoolhouse, Church/graveyard, Rowan’s grave, back to May Morrison’s, Myrtle holds the frog in her mouth, the registrar’s, chemist’s, pony and trap ride to castle, sees Fire Dance on the way, meets Lord Summerisle, they walk in garden

Monday night

digs up grave, brings hare to LS and Miss Rose, Tinker of Rye, breaks into chemist’s shop and develops 1972 harvest festival photograph, back at Green Man, Willow’s dance

Tuesday, May 1

Willow brings him breakfast in bed (9:30 am according to Howie's watch), children carry death doll out of the village, Howie goes to library, (harbor shot), returns to his plane but it won’t start, chases hobby, courtyard festivities, talks w/ May Morrison as she cuts up baby cake, searches houses (no hairdresser’s scene), back at the Green Man he has a glass of whiskey and then rests, Hand of Glory, knocks out Alder, procession, women tease him, chop chop, process to beach, on beach, make offering, sees Rowan, they escape through cave, confrontation with LS and crowd, anointment, carried to the Wicker Man, consumed

Theatrical version

Used as flashback… when?, Howie and fiancée sing in church, Howie gives bible reading, intercut with him taking communion, Tongue-in-cheek thanks caption

1st day (April 29, 1973, Sunday)

Howie flies to island (with main titles) and lands, interrogates fishermen on quay, meets with Mrs Morrison and Myrtle in post office, enters Green Man Inn, Locals sing The Landlord's Daughter (long version) 10:05 pm according to the clock on the wall, Howie addresses pub; Howie asks MacGregor about harvest-festival photos, Howie eats meal in pub and wonders why produce isn't fresh, Howie goes for walk and sees copulating couples and girl crying on grave, Howie returns to pub and gets key to room, Next door, Willow sings Heigh Ho (long version) and dances naked, Howie lays in bed in pub

2nd day (April 30, 1973, Monday)

the next morning, Howie asks Willow for directions, Schoolboys sing and dance around maypole, Howie questions schoolgirls and Miss Rose, Howie enters churchyard (longer shot), Howie sees girl with baby and egg; Howie meets with gravedigger/gardener, Howie returns to post office; Myrtle has her throat cured with frog, Howie meets Doctor Ewan and is brushed off, Howie meets with librarian to see register of death, Howie meets with Lennox, the chemist, cart ride to Summerisle's castle, Howie sees pregnant girls in orchard and naked girls dance round fire, Howie meets Summerisle and is given history of island, Howie and gravedigger exhume Rowan's grave and find hare instead of body, , Summerisle and Miss Rose sing The Tinker Of Rye (long version), , Howie bursts in and appeals to Summerisle and Miss Rose for help, Howie breaks into darkroom and develops photo (longer version of scene with two visual flashbacks to meeting with Summerisle)

3rd day (May Day, 1973, Tuesday)

Kids carry doll ("We carry death out of the village"), Howie studies pagan rituals in library (long version), Harbour master rows Howie to plane; plane won't start, Howie chases hobby horse, Howie spies on preparations for festivities, Howie returns to post office for final appeal to Mrs Morrison, Howie searches (part one), Howie searches (part two); Howie searches baker's, fishmonger's, butcher's and funeral parlour, Howie returns to pub and has drink, Willow and MacGregor administer hand of glory to sleeping Howie, , Howie knocks out MacGregor, steals Punch costume, and leaves MacGregor tied up, procession of islanders, MacGreagor struggles with bonds (blooper shot), Islanders play Oranges And Lemons game at stones;, islanders decamp to beach and offer ale to sea, Howie rescues Rowan and leads her through caves, exiting on the top of the cliffs, Shot of Summerisle, Miss Rose and Willow sitting on cliff top, Summerisle, Miss Rose and Willow explain conditions that Howie has fulfilled, , Howie stripped and anointed; Howie appeals to islanders, Howie carried into wicker man; Summerisle gives order to start sacrifice, Fire is started and islanders sing Summer Is A- Cumen In; Howie crouches in wicker man and prays ,head of wicker man topples; final credits

Anthony Shaffer script 

(from Chapter 18 of Brown hardcover book, 16 of the ebook)

1st day (April 29, 1973, Sunday)

snakes graphic, harbor scum to pub, Howie closes piano lid, Howie stops darts game, Howie and constable encounter old whore, *Church of Scotland interior - Howie with fiancée, as they leave they encounter the butcher (not in script but cast and in shooting schedule)


2nd day (April 30, 1973, Monday)

Ullwater daytime, postman delivers summons to late-closing pub owner, Letter from Summerisle arrives, Howie takes off in seaplane (aerials same as in movie), Howie lands, talks with harbormaster, goes to May Morrison's shop, Howie searches house for clues, finds Rowan's clothes, Howie borrows a bicycle and goes to Holly Grimmond's house, as he passes Serpent's Egg Hill, we see Druid god Cernunnos looking at him, Holly and her mother confirm story, Howie returns to the village, Green Man. He gets a room, Song is sung but not Landlord's Daughter yet, Howie complains about the food to a maid, Oak wrestles man, Ash Buchanan is introduced to Willow, Gently Johnny


3rd day (May Day, 1973, Tuesday)

Howie visits schoolhouse (dialogue about Quixote missing from film) === Howie visits ruined kirk, graveyard, Hand of Glory dialogue missing from film, Howie visits the chemist, the Dr, the registrar, then Sumerisle's castle, discussion on history of the island, Howie runs into Miss Rose as he explores some more, She explains about May Day, Howie appeals to May Morrison and Myrtle as they prepare for parade putting on chicken masks, Howie searches houses, Salmon of Knowledge explains himself, Howie visits funeral parlor, May Day procession starts - was going to be on the Main st, Sword dance was to happen on the beach, instead at the Stone Henge, Howie and Rowan escape into the cave, sacrifice is "reverenced", we hear three long piercing shrieks, fire creates halo on WM


Hardy's novelization

Opens with Howie and Mary Bannock on St Ninian's stalking a suspected bird poacher. Mary suspects Howie is holding off on marriage because she is Methodist, he is Episcopalian. Howie uses tongue when they kiss. Mary wants to go to bed, they decide to get married soon. But first he has to investigate Summerisle., Howie flies over islands, On village green he finds orgy, Howie talks to lesbian gillie

... same as movie

RAF attempts to rescue Howie, 3 sex crazed cronies with phallic chair

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