Worldwide appeal to retrieve original missing film material for horror classic The Wicker Man on 40th anniversary.

Director Robin Hardy has endorsed a worldwide appeal launched by StudioCanal to locate original film materials relating to cult horror classic The Wicker Man.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the film about a policeman (Edward Woodward) sent to a remote island village in search of a missing girl, whom the townsfolk claim never existed. It also stars Christopher Lee.

StudioCanal intends to mark the occasion by releasing the “most complete version of the film possible”.

The Wicker Man was originally released with minimal promotion as the second feature in a double bill with Don’t Look Now.

The version exhibited to audiences was significantly shorter (88mins) than Hardy’s original vision (102mins).

The negatives disappeared from storage at Shepperton Studios and were allegedly used as landfill in the construction of the nearby M4 motorway.

US director Roger Corman had a print of the full-length version – used for US theatrical release – but it has been missing since the 1980s and only poor quality video material is known to exist of this version.

StudioCanal are now appealing to film collectors, historian, programmers and fans to come forward with any information relating to the potential whereabouts of original materials.

Hardy said: “I never thought that, after 40 years, they would still be finding lost fragments of my film. We thought all of The Wicker Man had gone up in flames, but fragments keep turning up and the hunt goes on.”

A special Facebook page has been created to serve as a forum for the search: