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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Western Isles toast plan to remake 1949 Ealing film of Scotch salvage operation



    Kirsty Scott

    Thursday August 5, 2004

    The Guardian



    It is said the only politician that brought the Western Isles any luck is lying at the bottom of the sea. The grounding of the cargo ship SS Politician off Eriskay in 1941 brought an untold bounty during wartime rationing, in the form of 28,000 cases of Scotch that had been in its hold. The islanders' clandestine efforts to remove the cargo and hide it from excise officials inspired the novel by Compton Mackenzie, which was turned into the classic 1949 film Whisky Galore!

    Now the residents of Eriskay and neighbouring Barra are celebrating plans for a remake of the old Ealing comedy, a project which could reinvigorate the local economy.



    A Glasgow-based production company, which has optioned the remake rights for the film, has launched a public investment drive to try to raise some £400,000 for pre-production.



    It is believed to be the first time such an enterprise investment scheme has been used for a film project in Scotland. If enough cash can be raised, filming could start next year, with a release date in 2006. Producer Ed Crozier said the film held a special place in the hearts of Scots.



    "It is about ordinary people putting one over on the establishment," he said. "Everybody loves that."



    The original film, which starred Gordon Jackson, James Robertson Justice and Basil Radford, was set on the fictional island of Todday but filmed in Barra in 1948, in what was the worst summer for almost a century. Its budget ran to £80,000. The estimated budget for the remake is £14m.



    Crozier said that once the funding was in place they planned to film in and around the Outer Hebrides.



    "We are hoping to shoot it in its entirety in the Western Isles," he said. "We will be filming in different places. A lot of places used in the original have street lights and electric pylons and we can't show that, of course.



    "What we are trying to do is make this as Scottish as possible. In the original film there were a lot of home counties accents."



    Crozier said there had been a lot of interest from agents keen to get a new generation of Scottish stars into the film. He said he could not reveal who might be involved in the project, but one "iconic" English actor had been earmarked to play the part of Captain Waggett, the hapless army officer who was supposed to secure the vessel.



    The producer said he was confident a remake would appeal to an international audience in the same way that films such as Bill Forsyth's Local Hero had done. The original Whisky Galore!, under the title Whisky A Go Go, was a huge hit in France. In the US, still mindful of the prohibition era, it was titled Tight Little Island.



    "There is a whole heritage to follow on from," said Crozier. "The original was made in 1949 so there are a couple of generations who have not seen it. What we are trying to do is to emulate the powerful imagery of the original film. The first was shot in black and white and we are going to be shooting in colour. We won't lose track of the humour. It is a funny film and we will be introducing that subtle island humour to an international market."



    Donald Manford, the Western Isles councillor for Barra, said the islanders were excited about the possibility of a remake.



    But Mr Manford has more reason than many to be interested in the project. His grandfather was arrested, spent a night in jail, and had to walk 50 miles to a court hearing for trying to salvage some of the hundreds of thousands of bottles of whisky that had been on board when the cargo ship ran aground on February 5 in gale force winds en route from Liverpool to Jamaica and on to New Orleans.



    "I'm hugely supportive of the project and I wish them every success," said Mr Manford. "I think the reaction across the island will be extremely positive. The only kind of concern that I have heard mooted is that a new film might take away from the original film. But I don't accept that argument at all because the film itself was a story and this will be another story."



    Mr Manford said the project, if it went ahead, could provide a shot in the arm to the local tourist economy. Visitors attracted to Scotland by films they had seen accounted for between £15m and £20m of tourist revenue every year.



    "It adds to the spice," said Mr Manford. "It adds to the interest. It adds to the folklore."

  2. #2
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    I read somewhere that Sean Connery had backed the project.



    I will be annoyed if the remake decimates the original, like the Coen's nasty work upon the Ladykillers.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if he's investing money or merely wrote a foreward for the investor prospectus to give it some celebrity clout.



    Personally I can't see the point in a remake. Why not use the money to shoot an original story?

  4. #4
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    DB7:

    [snip]



    Personally I can't see the point in a remake. Why not use the money to shoot an original story?
    Because nobody can think of any :)



    Steve

  5. #5
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    Why can't they use the money to restore and digitalise the original? They are bound to 'Americanise'the remake and ruin it.

  6. #6
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Bonnyandclyde:

    Why can't they use the money to restore and digitalise the original? They are bound to 'Americanise'the remake and ruin it.
    Don't digitalise or colorise it - they both help to spoil films. Just restore it.



    Steve

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