PORTIONS FILMED BUT NEVER USED
This document transcribes major scenes that are believed to have been shot for the film but not included in any of the finished versions. All the material in this section is believed lost.
(Note that any comments below which refer to "the finished film" relate to the Long Version.)
The following sequence was intended to continue the scene of Howie and McTaggart in the police car (as seen in the finished film) but the whole lot seems to have been thrown out at an early stage of the editing and, like all the material detailed on this page, no longer exists.
The piano player was portrayed by Tony Sympson, and the prostitute by Katie Gardener (who, incidentally, was once shortlisted for the part of May Morrison). The actors who played the publican and the fisherman are unknown.
In the script segment below, the publican is depicted as a man but it's possible this was changed to a woman before filming. The original script also described the prostitute as "an old woman"; it seems this character was later changed to be somewhat younger.
(We see Howie's point of view of the dismal and mainly deserted streets. The only moving things are the occasional creeping dog or shuffling fish-and-chip eater. The car window is wound down and we hear the approaching sounds of raucous singing to a honky-tonk piano. Cut to inside the car.)
HOWIE: What's all that?
McTAGGART: Don't know, Sergeant. Sounds like a bit of a knees-up to me.
HOWIE: Stop the car.
(The panda car comes to a halt outside a pub. Howie and McTaggart enter the pub. The men inside are dressed in working clothes and drinking pints of beer. Many are singing and dancing to the sounds of an old honky-tonk piano played by an elderly but none the less demoniac man. Howie strides across to the piano, pushing roughly through the dancers. He slams down the lid, narrowly missing the pianist's fingers. The pub falls silent.)
HOWIE: This public house is licensed for orderly drinking. It is not licensed for singing and dancing and the playing of music. You know that well enough, Mr. Johnstone.
(Johnstone, the publican, stares belligerently at Howie.)
VOICE FROM CROWD: Och, where's the harm in it?
(We hear murmurs of assent.)
HOWIE: These premises are not licensed for it. There's the harm in it.
(He takes the key off the piano top and locks it up. He then places the key in his pocket.)
HOWIE (to Johnstone): Here's your receipt for the key, sir.
(The two policemen make for the door.)
VOICE FROM THE CROWD (sardonically): I said as I sat by the edge of the sea, a public-house dance would be bully for me. I thought as I walked by the edge of the dunes, how strange that the devil's got all the good tunes.
(There is general subdued laughter. Howie smiles briefly as he and McTaggart exit. Howie is about to climb back into the car when he notices some activity in the shadow of an alley running alongside the pub. He and McTaggart walk towards it and come across a whore, her back to the wall, her skirt round her waist, clearly copulating with a young fisherman. At the sound of the policemen's arrival they stop and look round.)
HOWIE: Stand her out in the light. Let the customer see what he's paying for.
(McTaggart pulls the whore away from the wall and stands her under a street lamp. Her skirt is still round her waist.)
HOWIE: Is that what you want?
(The fisherman peers at the woman's body and is clearly revolted by what he sees. He turns away gagging slightly.)
HOWIE: Come on.
(He walks away down the alley to his car followed by McTaggart. The woman stands under the lamplight watching their departure. The car doors slam and they drive away.)
This was then to be followed by the church scene, with Howie giving the sermon.
This scene was intended to be used directly after the scene with Howie and McTaggart in the police station. If you listen closely to the soundtrack at the end of the police-station scene, Howie's line: "Will you call in at Mary's house? Tell her I'll be away overnight," seems to have been recorded outdoors and then dubbed over. It was probably originally shot as part of this sequence:
(Two fishermen lean on the harbour wall watching Howie being rowed out to the moored seaplane. He climbs out on to the float and unmoors it. The rowboat pulls away towards us, the rower waving. Howie gives a short wave and enters the cockpit.)
1ST FISHERMAN: Do you think he might be going for good?
2ND FISHERMAN: It always does to look on the bright side.
This was to be followed by the shot of Howie's plane taking off.
There were several more sections filmed for Howie's first meeting with Mrs Morrison. Originally, just after Myrtle says: "Look Mummy – I'm drawing a hare," the scene continued as below. In the finished film, you'll notice the door behind Howie is open then suddenly closed, indicating where this excised material originally fitted. Note also the dreadful overdub when Mrs Morrison says: "Excuse me, Sergeant," which sounds like it has been done by a completely different actress!
(From next door we hear the tinkle of the shop bell. Howie holds the door closed, keeping her in the parlour.)
HOWIE: Mrs. Morrison, from information that has come into my possession, I have reason to believe you have another daughter.
MRS. MORRISON: Do you now? Well I should know best about that, shouldn't I?
HOWIE: And that she is missing.
MRS. MORRISON: Do I look like a mother with a missing daughter? Come now, you're the policeman.
HOWIE: Well no, but...
MRS. MORRISON: But what...?
HOWIE: I have to investigate.
MRS. MORRISON: Having come so far you mean?
HOWIE: Please Mrs. Morrison ... It's only that we have to follow up on information received.
MRS. MORRISON: From who?
HOWIE: I'm afraid I can't tell you that. It's probably some crank. After all if you tell me Myrtle is an only child...
MRS. MORRISON: Of course she is.
HOWIE: Well there you are ... Would you have any objection if I talked to her for a moment?
MRS. MORRISON: Why should I? You're not going to eat her are you?
(Howie smiles thinly and opens the door for her to pass through into the shop. Mrs. Morrison smiles encouragingly at her daughter and goes through the door.)
The scene then continued with Howie's conversation with Myrtle.
Later on in the meeting with Mrs Morrison, there was some more excised material. The unused sequence started just after Mrs Morrison had offered Howie a cup of tea. In the finished film, you can see Woodward begin to mouth the "Mrs. Morrison,..." dialogue below as we cross-fade to the Green Man sign. This (and the next few cuts) unfortunately leave completely unexplained what Howie did during the rest of the afternoon and evening of his first day on the island.
Additionally, the removal of the sequence which indicates that the island doesn't have working telephone communication is regrettable as telephone lines and poles were shown earlier in the film. Viewers must be left wondering why Howie doesn't simply phone back to the mainland after he later finds his radio has been sabotaged.
There are existing publicity stills of this sequence (see photo below), so we know it was definitely filmed.
HOWIE: Mrs. Morrison, perhaps if you wouldn't mind - I mean, just so I can complete my report - may I take a look round the house?
MRS. MORRISON: Of course you can. Only I don't suppose it's very tidy. My husband, like most of you men, leaves everything to be cleared up after him.
(Howie climbs the stairs. Mrs. Morrison watches him with thoughtful amusement for a moment, then moves to put the kettle on. Howie first enters Mr. and Mrs. Morrison's bedroom and observes a "clutter of personal adult possessions" but little else. He then goes into a child's bedroom. In the cupboard he finds a rack of clothes that are far too big for a girl the age of Myrtle. Howie goes back downstairs and measures the clothes against Myrtle's frame.)
HOWIE (grimly): You haven't been straight with me, Mrs. Morrison.
MRS. MORRISON: Why, you've found one of Holly's dresses, and you thought it was... Why it's just like a detective story!
MRS. MORRISON: Yes, Mrs. Grimmond's daughter. She came to stay with us last week when her mum was ill. She's a widow you see and can't really cope, poor soul. Here's your tea. Now drink it up while it's hot.
(Howie takes the cup and automatically starts drinking.)
HOWIE: But why should she leave her clothes here?
MRS. MORRISON: Oh you know how girls are - scatterbrained. Holly's always forgetting things.
(Howie regards Mrs. Morrison's plump figure with irritation.)
HOWIE: You mean she forgot all her clothes? Where does she live?
MRS. MORRISON: Holly? Oh I'm afraid it's quite a long way.
HOWIE: Then perhaps I could telephone. Do you have her number?
MRS. MORRISON: Oh I've got her number alright but it'll do you no good. The telephone hasn't worked here for years.
MRS. MORRISON: The whole thing's up the spout and I suppose we've been too lazy to mend it.
(Howie goes over to the decrepit switchboard and examines the wiring.)
MRS. MORRISON: Of course, if you could make it work I'm sure we'd all be very grateful.
HOWIE: There's no chance of that I'm afraid. It needs to be completely rewired... How far did you say Mrs. Grimmond's house was?
MRS. MORRISON: Too far to walk. Mind you I could lend you my bicycle if you like. You go up the hill and turn left by Serpent's Egg Hill.
The script then continued with Howie cycling along country lanes out to the Grimmond house, but production paperwork tells us these bicycling shots (and those of him cycling back again and replacing the bike) were cut from the script before they were filmed.
The next never-used sequence was after Howie has arrived at the Grimmond house. This scene was kept in the film until a reasonably late stage as evidenced by the redundant "Mrs. Grimmond" credit on the end of the finished movie. Due to the removal of this material, the Holly Grimmond character ends up not speaking, but she can still be seen as one of the pupils in the schoolroom scene (the girl in the blue and white jumper) and during the stones sequences. Likewise, her mother can still be seen in some of the crowd shots (for example, when Howie first walks into the pub and approaches the bar).
(We then join a conversation between Mrs. Grimmond and Howie. Holly Grimmond stands watching.)
MRS. GRIMMOND: ... So it's as I say. Sergeant Howie, I can't tell you who would write a wicked letter like that. All I know is that May Morrison's got just the one daughter - Myrtle.
(Howie stands in the sunlight looking baffled.)
HOWIE: Thank you, Mrs. Grimmond.
(He turns to Holly.)
HOWIE: But one thing I still don't understand is why you left your clothes behind when you'd finished your stay with Mrs. Morrison.
(Holly smiles, looks slyly at her mother, smiles again and gives a shrug.)
HOLLY: I just forgot 'em that's all. I'll pick them up when I'm by next.
HOWIE: But surely ... to forget so many clothes...
HOLLY: I know. It was silly of me, wasn't it? Downright careless, mum said - didn't you, mum?
MRS. GRIMMOND (laughing): And so it was. She's a pretty girl, my Holly, but she doesn't always use her brains.
(Mrs. Grimmond puts her arm round Holly and squeezes her affectionately. Looking at the smiling faces of mother and daughter, Howie loses heart and abandons his remonstrances.)
HOWIE: I see. Well thank you again, and good evening to you.
(Abruptly Howie turns away, face taut, aware of the subtle mockery of the two females. He mounts his bicycle. As he pedals away, he faintly hears Mrs. Grimmond and Holly laughing after him.)
Sandwiched between Howie's meal at The Green Man and his evening walk, a scene was originally shot where Howie observes some more strange happenings in the pub. Though this sequence was excised from the final film, the remnants of the wrestling match are still visible when Howie returns from his stroll. Paperwork and photographs indicate that the "onlooker" character was actually Broome (Lord Summerisle's attendant). The Duggald character (the smaller man in the fight, played by Jimmy MacKenzie) was renamed to Briar before shooting (hence the credit at the end of the film) and can be seen prominently later as one of the two men holding Howie as he is stripped and anointed (the other is Oak).
(Howie enters the bar and notices a crowd gathered. There is a great deal of noise. People are shouting the odds and making bets. The camera reveals that there is a wrestling match going on, between a huge muscled man and a diminutive man of not more than 112 lbs. Both are fairly drunk. The onlookers shout encouragement. The small man is sitting on the floor, arms round thighs, locked under knees, knees drawn up. The big man is coming at him on hands and knees. Howie joins the group.)
HOWIE (to neighbour): What's going on?
ONLOOKER: Oh, it's all perfectly legal, don't you worry, Sergeant. They've had a falling out, d'ye see. But they can't fight because Alastair's so big and Duggald's so wee. So they've agreed to settle it this way.
(The big man makes a sudden rush and forces his head forward between the smaller man's knees and into his locked hands. He starts to try to rise to a standing position. Howie looks on with great distaste.)
HOWIE: What's he doing?
ONLOOKER: He's trying to lift him up from the floor on his neck. If he succeeds, he wins the argument - that's if he doesn't break his neck in the process, mind.
ONLOOKER: Oh, it can happen. Quite easily as a matter of fact. Both Tom and Jock McLeod snuffed it that way, and they was both big buggers. Duggald's at least a hundredweight to lift d'ye see – and dead weight at that.
(The contest continues with the big man nearly half way to his feet with the little man on his neck, but being forced down again, by the latter pressing his knees and his locked hands round the big man's neck. Howie seems at once attracted and repelled by the exhibition. He turns away abruptly and his eye falls on the barroom clock which shows 11:15. Immediately he makes his way over to Alder MacGregor who is standing behind the bar.)
HOWIE: What time do you close this place?
ALDER MacGREGOR: When I feel like it. The licensing laws don't apply here, Sergeant. This is Lord Summerisle's private island. He's his own Justice of the Peace, and he makes his own rules. He doesn't care when we close; as long as everyone turns up for work on time the next day, that is.
(Howie is outraged. He debates his course of action but there is nothing he can do. He walks rather stiffly out of the bar. Alder MacGregor pointedly draws himself a dram of whisky (clear malt), so described on the bottle, and tosses it down.)
If you look closely at the first shot of Summerisle and Ash Buchanan in the garden, you can just about see that Summerisle is holding a sapling. The script describes the significance of this:
(... This is Lord Summerisle. In his hands he holds a willow sapling and a dress dagger. ... Lord Summerisle passes his willow sapling and dagger to the youth, who starts rhythmically to chop off all the branches, until the sapling is stripped. The youth then moves forward and plants it firmly, questioningly under Willow's window.)
Though the above portion was deleted, the shot of Ash Buchanan stepping back, after the business with the sapling, is still included.
The scene where Howie talks to Willow outside the pub on the morning of his first day on the island was originally longer. After she has directed him to the school, he remembers something else and walks back over to her. It seems likely this extra portion of the exchange was filmed but this is not certain.
HOWIE: Er... what's happening here on "tomorrow's tomorrow"?
WILLOW (innocently): That's a funny way to put it. Do you mean the day after tomorrow?
HOWIE: Yes, I suppose so. I thought the other was a local expression.
WILLOW: How quaint.
(Willow starts to head into the pub.)
WILLOW: Now let me see. The day after tomorrow will be May the second... Nothing as far as I know.
(She smiles demurely at him. Howie turns away and it dawns on him that a day has past since he heard the phrase used.)
HOWIE: I mean tomorrow. What's happening here tomorrow?
(But Willow has already disappeared back inside the pub. Howie half makes a move to follow her, then shrugs and starts off towards the school again.)
During Howie's chat with Miss Rose in the doorway of the schoolroom, there was originally some extra dialogue. The finished film cuts straight from the first line to the last.
MISS ROSE: I was unaware that the police had any authority in matters of education.
HOWIE: Maybe not, but we work closely with those who do and, as I say, this will not go unreported.
MISS ROSE: Is that why you came here today? To snoop?
HOWIE: No it was not, Miss. And let me make it plain. I do not snoop. I investigate.
MISS ROSE: May one know, without too much self-important mystery making, what it is you have come here to investigate?
HOWIE: I've come to find a missing girl – a girl whom everyone says never existed.
MISS ROSE: How quixotic of you.
MISS ROSE: From Don Quixote - an enthusiastic visionary, a pursuer of lofty but impracticable ideals.
HOWIE: Also a man of honour, I believe.
MISS ROSE: Which did not prevent him from continually making a fool of himself.
HOWIE: Aye, aye, well we'll see about that.
The scene with Doctor Ewan originally started earlier:
(Doctor Ewan gets off his ancient motor bicycle and makes his way towards his house. Howie intercepts him.)
HOWIE: Doctor Ewan?
HOWIE: I'm a police officer, and I'd like a word with you.
EWAN: Before lunch?
HOWIE: Yes. Now, if you don't mind.
EWAN: But I do. Come back at two thirty.
HOWIE: I don't think you can have heard me. I said I was a police officer.
EWAN (sniffing the air): On second thoughts, as it seems to be braised oxtail, you'd better make it three o'clock. The old digestion takes a bit longer to work these days than it used to.
(He passes on towards his front door.)
HOWIE: Doctor? Did you sign Rowan Morrison's death certificate?
The scene then carried on as per the finished film.
There also exist (publicity?) stills taken during this sequence showing Doctor Ewan holding a snake.
When questioning the keeper of the local chemist's, Mr Lennox, the scene originally started with Howie meeting him outside his shop. (In the finished film, the first line and part of the second have been dubbed over the later footage inside the shop.)
HOWIE: Are you Mr. Lennox, the photographer?
LENNOX: Oh, I'm firstly a chemist, secondly a photographer, and thirdly a purveyor of Thermos flasks and hotties.
LENNOX: Hot-water bottles. More efficacious than most of Doctor Ewan's specifics, believe me. Do you want your photograph taken?
HOWIE: No thank you, but I would like a word.
LENNOX: Come inside then.
(Lennox leads the way into the shop. Howie's attention is taken by a large bottle marked "foreskins".)
HOWIE: Foreskins? How do you get foreskins?
LENNOX: Circumcision - how else? I pay Ewan a reasonable price for them.
HOWIE: But what for?
LENNOX: If ritually burnt they bring the rain. But, of course, up here there's very little call for them. Now, how can I help you?
HOWIE: I understand that you take the harvest festival photographs every year - the ones I saw in The Green Man?
The scene then carried on as per the finished film.
After the scene in the library, Howie was seen catching a lift up to Summerisle's castle. This scene is noted on production paperwork as having been filmed.
(A pony and trap are standing in the road outside the pub. A "gillie" stands beside it, wrestling a couple of casks of beer into place. Howie is standing talking to her.)
GILLIE: Aye. I'll take you up with me to the castle if you like. This beer is for his Lordship.
HOWIE: I'd appreciate that. Is it far?
GILLIE: It's up through the Mistletoe Woods. It won't take a half-hour.
(Howie climbs aboard the trap followed by the gillie, and they set off.)
(Though we don't see the gillie in the finished film, documentation indicates the actress was also somewhere amongst the patrons in the initial pub scenes and, later, in the clifftop crowd, though again, conceivably not on screen in the final edit.)
Howie arrives at the laird's castle and meets Lord Summerisle. To Christopher Lee's dismay, large sections which he had filmed were removed from the latter part of this sequence. The uncut conversation was as follows. In red is the dialogue which made it through to the finished film. Judging by some of the publicity photographs (see below), it would seem that the "experimental orchard" described here in the script was demoted to a simple greenhouse for filming purposes.
LORD SUMMERISLE: He's dead. He can't complain. He had his chance and, in modern parlance, blew it.
(Howie stands angrily.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: Don't you mean "how"? The people were persuaded that he had become less powerful than the old gods who still lived on in the woods and the water and the fire and the stone.
HOWIE: It's not possible after so long. Who did this? I don't understand...
(Summerisle opens a folder of old photos and flicks through them.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: It's very simple – let me show you. In the last century, the islanders were starving. Like our neighbours today, they were scratching a bare subsistence from sheep and sea. Dutifully, every Sunday the people - Baptist and Catholic, Presbyterian and Free Kirk - bowed to the Christian god as low as their respective religions permitted and prayed for prosperity. But inevitably none appeared. In due course they came to realise that their reward was to be in either emigrating to the New World – or as the various priests indicated in a rare moment - to the next. Then, in 1868, my grandfather bought this barren island and began to change things.
(Summerisle indicates a painting of his grandfather on the wall.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: A distinguished Victorian scientist, agronomist, free-thinker. How formidably benevolent he seems. Essentially, the face of a man incredulous of all human good.
HOWIE: You're very cynical, my Lord.
(Summerisle leads Howie into the dining room.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: What attracted my grandfather to the island, apart from the profuse source of wiry labour that it promised, was the unique combination of volcanic soil and the warm Gulf Stream that surrounded it.
(Summerisle takes a knife from a holder and leads Howie outside.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: You see, his experiments had led him to believe that it was possible to induce here the successful growth of certain new strains of fruit that he'd developed. So, with typical mid-Victorian zeal, he set to work.
(Lord S. opens a white gate and goes through. Howie stops behind the gate and stares at a shrine, which the camera holds.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: But of course, almost immediately, he met opposition from the fundamentalist clergy, who threw tons of his artificial fertiliser into the harbour, on the grounds that if God had meant us to use it, he'd have provided it.
(Howie follows. Summerisle, carrying his fruit knife, is five steps ahead of Howie.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: My grandfather took exactly the same view of the clergy, and realised he had to be rid of them. The best way of accomplishing this, so it seemed to him, was to rouse the people from their apathy by giving them back their joyous old gods.
HOWIE: How was this possible?
LORD SUMMERISLE: You underestimate the spiritual vision of the Celts. My grandfather simply told them about the the Stones - how they, in fact, formed an ancient temple – and that he, The Lord of the Manor, would make a sacrifice there every day to their old gods and goddesses, particularly those of fruitfulness and fertility. And as a result of this worship, the barren island would burgeon and bring forth fruit in great abundance. For an atheist, grandfather had a singularly biblical turn of phrase, don't you think?
HOWIE: And they believed him?
LORD SUMMERISLE: Well, of course, to begin with they worked for him because he fed them and clothed them but then later, when the trees started fruiting, it became a very different matter, and the ministers fled the island, never to return.
HOWIE: But how did the trees come to fruit, when so many other attempts to grow things on these islands have failed? Don't tell me your grandfather really worshipped the (choking on the phrase) gods of fertility?
LORD SUMMERISLE: Come, come, Sergeant. As I've already told you, he worshipped science. What he did, of course, was to develop new cultivars of hardy fruit suited to local conditions. Out here we have his original experimental orchard, much developed of course. Come and have a look.
(They walk into the experimental orchard. All the trees are elaborately tagged and bound. A number of small refrigerators stand by the side of them.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: You are looking at the parents of the Summerisle apple. Ashmead's Russet, here, was originally raised by a Doctor Ashmead of Gloucester in the year 1710. It's not particularly attractive in appearance but was originally selected on account of its age and excellent flavour. Try it yourself.
(Summerisle opens a refrigerator and produces a slightly shrivelled brown apple which he cuts with his knife. He offers it to Howie who takes it and eats it.)
HOWIE: Very sweet.
LORD SUMMERISLE: Indeed, alas it has a regrettable tendency to shrivel in refrigeration. In order to combat this disadvantage, grandfather crossed it with St. Athelstane's Pippin, an orange-flushed russet of great sturdiness and quite phenomenal shelf life, discovered about 1830 by a Mr. Talmage of St. Ives in Cornwall. Note the large, convergent sepals set in an unusually even basin.
(Summerisle cuts open another apple for Howie and, just as Howie is about to take it, he throws it to the ground.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: Don't bother to taste it; it's quite unremarkable, unlike those splendid Pauncefoot Pearmains over there which were brought in as the last grafting in order to correct appearance.
(He points out the apple in question and then suddenly produces a huge red apple which he cuts open. Juice flows from the creamy flesh.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: Save your appetite for this feller - the renowned Summerisle Famous.
(Howie takes a piece and eats it. He can hardly conceal his delight.)
HOWIE: Extraordinary, my Lord. Naturally I have had them before.
LORD SUMMERISLE: Yes, yes, of course you have.
(Summerisle caresses the apple lovingly.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: Creamy white flesh, blood-red bloom with a truly noble flavour. It took years of my grandfather's life, but it was worth it, for on this we base our prosperity. Of course my father went on developing and improving the apples and produced other fruit here as well, notably Star of Summerisle, a remarkably heady pear, and Flame of Summerisle, an extremely juicy slightly sub-acid apricot of superb colour.
HOWIE: And did he too keep up the godless charades of your grandfather, sir?
LORD SUMMERISLE: He became fascinated by the old ways, if that's what you mean. Indeed, he went further. What my grandfather started out of expediency, my father continued out of... love. He brought me up the same way - to reverence the music and the drama and the rituals of the old gods. To love nature and to fear it and to rely on it and to appease it where necessary. He brought me up...
HOWIE: He brought you up to be a pagan!
LORD SUMMERISLE: A heathen, conceivably, but not, I hope, an unenlightened one.
HOWIE: Lord Summerisle, I am interested in one thing – the law. But I must remind you, sir, that despite everything you've said, you are the subject of a Christian country. Now, sir, if I may have your permission to exhume the body of Rowan Morrison?
LORD SUMMERISLE: I was under the impression I'd already given it to you.
(The pony and trap appear.)
LORD SUMMERISLE: Ah, there's your transport. It's been a great pleasure meeting a Christian copper!
This extra scene occurred after Howie's forced entry into the chemist shop but before he retired to bed:
(Howie enters the bar, looking tired. The pub is unusually quiet. Willow stands behind the counter drying some glasses.)
WILLOW: Hello. You look tired. Can I get you a drink?
HOWIE: I'll have a pint, please.
(As Willow draws the beer, Howie studies the empty space on the wall where last year's harvest festival photograph should have been. He surreptitiously pulls out the copy of the missing photograph he made in the chemist's shop and compares it with the others. The difference between plenitude and famine is obvious. He puts the photograph back in his pocket and turns back to the bar.)
HOWIE: Willow, what did you mean by the phrase: "The day of death and rebirth"?
WILLOW: Oh, so you overheard that, did you, Sergeant Sleuth?
HOWIE: I'm right next door, you know.
WILLOW: I know where you are. I only hope Ash Buchanan didn't keep you awake. He's a lively boy and very anxious to learn.
HOWIE: I'm only interested in the phrase: "The day of death and rebirth."
WILLOW: It's just a saying. It's something to do with fertility, and May Day, and all that.
HOWIE: Willow, what happens on May Day? Does anyone... well, I mean, is anyone specially chosen for a...
WILLOW: You must think of it as a day of rebirth, Sergeant. That's the best way.
HOWIE (impatiently): Do you know where they are keeping Rowan Morrison?
WILLOW: Who cares? But why don't you come to my room later tonight? I'm sure I can tell you something to your advantage. The door won't be locked.
(Willow moves away from him, down the bar. Howie watches her go, evidently disturbed by her proposition. He swills down his beer.)
Some stills exist (below) which seem to indicate there might have been some extra footage involving the Librarian during Howie's search (aside from the single shot of her in the bath which made the finished film). Note that the room shown here seems to be the same one as used for another house during the search of the island.
Given that the hairdresser gets a credit at the end of the film, together with her prominence in the crowd scenes, it seems likely the hairdressing-salon scene, as shot, was longer, and that the hairdresser had some spoken lines. This is how the script described the scene:
(Half a dozen women are sitting in chairs having their hair arranged to suit the bird masks they are wearing. They turn their heads as one, like part of a marauding flock of birds of prey, to look at Howie when he bursts in.)
HOWIE: I am a police officer. I must ask you to remove those masks.
(They stare at him in silence.)
HAIRDRESSER: I have spent the morning setting their hair around those masks.
(Howie moves swiftly down the row of women examining their hands. None of them are those of a thirteen year old child. He talks as he goes.)
HOWIE: Alright, keep the masks on, but I need your help. As you all must know by now, Rowan Morrison is missing, and I believe she is being held somewhere on this island for a hideous purpose. Whatever your beliefs may be, you must see you cannot, as decent women and mothers, allow yourselves to become accomplices to murder ... Tell me where can I find this child?
(The women remain silent, staring at him through the bird masks. After a moment he goes out slamming the door behind him.)
The baker's scene also probably went on longer:
(The baker's shop is piled high with newly baked flat loaves impressed with the face of the sun god. Howie is searching the shop, watched laconically by the baker. Howie stops besides a huge iron door set in the wall.)
HOWIE: What's in here?
BAKER: That's my oven. Would you be thinking I've toasted the little girl up in it?
HOWIE: Open it.
BAKER: I don't like opening my oven when she's cooling.
(Inside the oven is a long coffin-shaped baking tin about seven feet in length. The baker reveals the figure of John Barleycorn (a symbolic corn figure usually made from plaited sheaves) baked in bread and filling the tin.)
HOWIE: What's that?
BAKER: The life of the fields – John Barleycorn.
HOWIE (furious): I've warned you, baker. If this girl is harmed, I'll have the lot of you.
(We stay on the baker's thoughtful face as Howie leaves the shop.)
Ditto, the fishmonger's shop, though it is difficult to see how this "infodump" would have played:
(Howie is searching through the fishmonger's shop. Fish of all sorts lie in trays around him. Howie notices a tall, thin cupboard.)
FISHMONGER: What's in here?
(He opens the cupboard. Inside is an eight foot high fish costume.)
FISHMONGER: That's my costume. What do you think of it? ... Splendid, eh? It's the Salmon of Knowledge. It is said that it acquired mystical lore, through eating the nuts of the divine hazel trees which fell into a well beneath them. These nuts conveyed to the salmon knowledge of everything that was in the world; and by extension those who can catch and eat of its flesh acquire supernatural sight.
(He looks around for Howie but the sergeant has gone. He smiles softly to himself and gently shakes his head.)
Again, to get his credit at the end of the film, presumably the butcher originally actually said something, as per the script. You can still just about see the "big cardboard box" in the finished film.
(The butcher stands behind his block, facing Howie across it.)
BUTCHER: Well, you've been through my freezers and looked all over the place for her, Sergeant, and as you can see she ain't here, so I'll be getting on if you don't mind. It's pretty late.
(The butcher picks up a big cardboard box.)
HOWIE: What have you got in there?
(The butcher takes off the top of the box to reveal its contents – the mask of the head of a white bull.)
HOWIE (sarcastically): What's that – the Bull of Ignorance?
BUTCHER: That's Old Brazenface, that is. Couldn't do without him.
(He gives Howie a broad wink and tramps off leaving the policeman standing there.)
And to finish off, a few mysteries...
In his book, Inside The Wicker Man, author Allan Brown tells us: "There was one curious interlude: a local man, Jimmy Kirkpatrick, was approached by crew members to appear in a scene in which, dressed in a dinner jacket and acting at his wit's end, he walked across a bridge then jumped into the river fully clothed. The scene was abandoned the next day when weather conditions turned bad and because the river was at half-tide at the scheduled time. It is difficult to explain what this scene represented, for who on Summerisle would be wearing evening dress? Certainly there is no reference to it in the script." Mr Kirkpatrick appears briefly in the 1998 BBC Scotland TV documentary Ex-S relating the same experience.
It's worth noting that this scene might have been part of a muck around or gag shot of some sort. However, my best guess is that it had something to do with some drunkenness that Howie observes as part of the mainland scenes. [2023: This mystery has been solved. John Lippincott (who runs the exellent The Wicker Man Wikia) has been speaking to an extra on the film who also describes himself as Robin Hardy's assistant/gopher. "I actually dived off the bridge in NS [Newton Stewart] wearing a tuxedo as part of my screen test for another movie. This happened to be the last job I did on this production, entirely self-interest motivated, nothing to do with the film, but it was nearly my last ever act. I hesitated, as it was lit on a cold night, with little me standing on the bridge parapet, my back against a lamp standard. Luckily I hesitated, despite 'get on with it's coming at me, and presently I observed a railway sleeper with track spikes in it drift by. When it was out of sight I made my plunge."]
Meanwhile, on his website, Ian Cutler (one of the musicians in the film) writes: "The film has been badly cut over the years and Ian remembers doing scenes that have never appeared in any version of the film. One such scene is the 'Dream' sequence which Ian can remember parts of quite clearly. He believes that this was filmed when Sgt Howie is sleeping, whilst the Hand of Glory burns. During the dream, which is a kaleidoscope of images, a huge egg-shaped stone is revolving faster and faster. Also the woman in the churchyard who is feeding the baby has the egg in her hand and crushes it. All very symbolic stuff! This scene has never been mentioned anywhere to my knowledge. Has anyone out there ever heard of it?"
The film's musical arranger, Gary Carpenter, remembers similarly: "I have a vivid memory of having to score a phenomenally complex dream sequence for Howie, which was like post-scoring an animation, it was so intricate. The fades and dissolves and extensive use of library footage for this sequence seriously dented the budget. Despite Robin Hardy's enthusiasm for it and its inclusion in what I assumed at the time to be 'The Director's Cut', I have never seen reference made to it again and it is in no existing version of the film."
And there's no hint of this dream in the script, either. The apparent use of "library footage" might suggest this sequence was purely a post-production idea/whim of some sort. Some people have also suggested that a passage of music heard only in the film's trailer was originally intended for this sequence.
A cast list presented in Variety has a confusing entry – it lists a character called "Landers", played by S. Newton Anderson. This credit is nowhere to be found in the movie's own closing cast list, nor does there seem to be an obvious candidate role within the finished film.
Similarly, on the cast list at the end of the film, there are credits for two roles of a "Communicant" which would seem to be something to do with the mainland church scene near the beginning of the film. One is listed as being played by Jan Wilson (who, I am fairly sure, is the thin-faced actress sitting prominently in the front row of the church, next to the man with the beard) and the other by Ross Campbell (who doesn't seem to be the man with the beard sitting next to her, but may well be the man two pews behind with the long hair, brown tie and also sporting a beard, sitting next to Howie's fiancée). A script amendment dated 8th October 1972 (i.e. very close to filming, and replacing the sketchily drafted butcher and publican sequences Allan Brown describes on p154 of the 2nd edition of his book) details a scene which may explain these credits:
(The congregation streams out of the church. The youngish wife of the local butcher stops to greet Howie and his fiancée who are leaving the church arm in arm.)
MRS. MACPHERSON: Good morning, Mary. Good morning, Sergeant. I trust you're both well?
FIANCÉE: Thank you, Mrs. MacPherson. Indeed we are.
(Mr. MacPherson seizes his wife by the arm and pulls her away through the crowd.)
MR. MACPHERSON: Come along woman. I don't want you talking to him.
MRS. MACPHERSON (struggling): What's the matter? What do you mean?
MR. MACPHERSON: That bugger gave me a summons for keeping my meat in insanitary conditions. Me! Come on.
(They disappear into the crowd. Howie's fiancée colours at the snub. He turns smiling to comfort her.)
HOWIE: My dear – a policeman's lot is not a happy one.
(She smiles at him and they move off together.)
The problem is that this scene (1-1B), which takes place outside the church after Communion, is marked as cut before filming on production paperwork. Possibly the sequence was moved inside the church, or maybe it was replaced completely? Whatever the exact contents of the Communicants scene, it probably carried a similar theme to the two it replaced and showed Howie having problems with fellow members of his community. It also probably gave some lines to Howie's fiancée, played by Alison Hughes. Author Allan Brown has seen stills of "a female midget in twin-set talking with Robin Hardy in his minister guise" which may (or may not) have something to do with this sequence.
And to end with, this shot of Willow giving her pretty sergeant a massage is nowhere to be found in the script. My own idea was that this was a posed publicity shot, but the original stills photographer, John Brown, wrote to me with a different theory: "... if my memory serves me well after all this time, it was highly likely that this was a 'between the scenes' shot of the two relaxing, as actors do between scenes. I would have just taken the opportunity to 'grab' the pictures. They were certainly not posed for publicity purposes, that is something I was not apt to do, but I would take advantage of any spontaneous behaviour by the cast. As this shot was taken with a wide angle lens, it is not beyond the realms of probablity that once I started taking photographs of what was a spontaneous action then the two actors went into 'character', hence the apparent act of praying by Edward Woodward."
Any other thoughts in a letter postmarked Summerisle, please.
Below: illustration from Aylett Sammes' Britannia Antiqua Illustrata (1676) based on Caesar's account of Druidic sacrifices in Britain.
Original text portions © Copyright Steve Phillips 1995-2023. All rights reserved.
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