Burns tune “perfect” for The Wicker Man, says director

Robin Hardy called Gently Johnny the "perfect love song" for his 1973 film

WICKER Man director Robin Hardy has said the work of Scottish poet Robert Burns was “perfect” for his 1973 horror film.

Hardy praised Burns’ Gently Johnny, saying it was the “perfect love song” for the film.

The director made his comments following the release of the cult classic on Blu-ray.

He added that the quality of the quality of the song had been restored for the new disc.

Hardy said: “We chose Celtic melodies where we could.

“Robbie Burns provided us with that perfect love song, Gently Johnny, which Paul Giovanni, our composer, himself sang, and Corn Rigs is the melody that takes us on our flight past the peaks of Skye to the palm-fringed coast of Summerisle.”

Writing in Empire magazine, he also revealed that the film’s star Edward Woodward would sing Gaelic songs for the cast and crew in evenings after shoots.

Superb actor

In The Wicker Man London-born Woodward, who died in 2009, played police sergeant Howie, sent to search for a missing girl on the fictional island of Summerisle.

Parts of the film were shot in Galloway, Plockton and Ayrshire.

The film was remade by Hollywood for a 2006 film starring Nicolas Cage.

In his article, Hardy said: “Edward Woodward, singing for us in Gaelic in the evenings, enchanting us with that beautiful mouth music – more than a mere film star, a superb actor.

“How seriously unwise for any other artist, even the talented Nicolas Cage, to try to give an encore as Sergeant Howie in the remake.”

Scenes for the film, which is now considered a classic by horror fans, were shot in Plockton in the Highlands, Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire coast, Logan Gardens in the Rhins of Galloway and Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway.

Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland starred in the film alongside Woodward.

Hardy’s latest film, The Wicker Tree, has scenes which were shot in Dalkeith in Midlothian.

Released in 2010, its cast includes Honeysuckle Weeks and Glasgow-born Graham McTavish, who will appear in The Hobbit.