This morning I saw the alleged “Final Cut” of Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man (’73). But the word “final” is deceptive because it’s not the fabled 99- or 100-minute version but a 94-minute “middle” version. For marketing purposes Rialto Pictures is calling it the end-all and be-all, but in the mind of any honest archivist it’s not. It’s certainly preferable to the butchered 87-minute cut that was released in 1973 but it’s an an “almost but no cigar” restoration. Hardy has said that the 94-minute cut has his “blessing” and that’s fine, but it doesn’t appear to be the version he initially cut together. To repeat, the 94-minute “middle version” lies in the foggy netherworld between the 87-minute theatrical cut and the 99- or 100-minute long version. Archivist Steve Phillips has catalogued much of the material contained in the version I saw this morning (which the printed press materials say is 94 minutes long but you never know). Here’s Phillips’ Wicker Man home page. The middle version reminded me what a superb actor Edward Woodward was and always will be in the minds of his fans. He never failed to deliver right on the mark. The man had balls, class, conviction, diction, passion.