Monday, 16 November 2009

Edward Woodward, 1930-2009

It is with regret that I feel I cannot comment at length on Edward Woodward's career. Much of his work through the 70's and 80's, particularly on TV, were admitedly before my time. I am of course, familiar with his more famous roles, and I have enjoyed his sporadic appearances on our screens in recent years, particularly his small but memorable roles in Hot Fuzz and the excellent BBC thriller 'Messiah.'

However, I, like many, will always associate Edward Woodward's name with The Wicker Man, possibly the greatest horror film Britain has produced and one of the greatest the genre has seen. For all Sir Christopher Lee's scene-stealing eccentricities in the film, it was Woodward's perfomance that helped elevate it to another level. As the chaste Sergeant Howie, Woodward brilliantly displayed the outrage of a man aghast at the rituals and debauchery taking place on the island. The character was not particularly likeable yet his intentions were honest and his offence was genuine, which only served to make the famous finale more shocking. The look of horror on Woodward's face and the uttering of "O, Lord! O, Jesus Christ!" upon seeing the titular wicker man for the first time will live on long in the memory as one of the great horror moments.

So it was with great sadness that I read of the death of Edward Woodward today. I wish I was more familiar with his other work and could provide a more fitting tribute but I wish to thank him for the enjoyment he has brought me. Rest in peace.

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