Highlands & Islands

Robert Burns 'perfect' for The Wicker Man says Hardy

Robert Burns. Pic: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Image caption Robert Burns's Gently Johnny has been restored for a new DVD of the film

The director of 1973 horror film The Wicker Man has praised the work of Robert Burns and actor Edward Woodward's Gaelic singing.

Robin Hardy has written exclusively for Empire magazine about the feature, which has scenes shot in Galloway, Plockton and Ayrshire.

He said Burns's Gently Johnny was the "perfect love song" for the film.

Hardy has also written about Woodward singing Gaelic songs for the cast and crew in evenings after shoots.

Writing in Empire, the director said the quality of Gently Johnny had been restored for the newly-released Blu-ray DVD version of The Wicker Man.

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."

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

The Wicker Man was remade for a 2006 film starring Nicolas Cage.

Image caption Croydon-born Woodward sang in Gaelic in evenings after filming

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 1973 feature 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 Brittania Nicol and Honeysuckle Weeks.

Glasgow-born Graham McTavish, who will appear in The Hobbit, also appears in The Wicker Tree.

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