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Thread: Whisky Galore

  1. #1
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    Would this film be characterized as "kailyard"?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    There's an article on the matter HERE.

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    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    So where does I Know Where I'm Going! (1945) fit in the Tartanry/Kailyard/Clydesidism categorisation? In his commentary track on the Criterion LD/DVD Prof Ian Christie claims it comes out quite well, not falling into any of the above bad categories.



    Are there any Scottish people here who can comment?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Is IKWIG really a Scottish-themed film? Couldn't it for example have been filmed on the Welsh coast to similar (though not so impressive) effect? From what I've read of the linked article to be 'Kailyard', my interpretation seems to be that the source material must have been written by a Scot.



    In the case of Whisky Galore, as far as I know Compton MacKenzie was Scottish and the subject matter (Whisky, and fighting English beaurocracy!) is something most definitely associated with Scotland. (Alexander Mackendrick ventured into similar territory again with The Maggie)



    I was surprised to see Braveheart mentioned. I was told (unsure if it's true) that in celebration of the film a William Wallace statue was erected... that looked like Mel Guibson.

  5. #5
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Yes, I suppose IKWIG could have been set in a Welsh or any other small community. But then so could any other non-historical Scottish film such as Whisky Galore!, The Maggie etc.



    Of course then you'd have to have a Welsh male voice choir instead of the Ceildhe and you wouldn't get Roger Livesey (or his double) striding across the hills in his kilt :)



    So yes, it could have been set elsewhere, but I don't think it would fit as well as it does on the Scottish island.



    I'd never heard the "must be written by a Scot" as part of the argument. I think that would disallow quite a few titles.





    Does Braveheart still hold the prize for most historical inaccuracies? :)

  6. #6
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    Appreciate the info, including the helpful link.

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    This was an Ealing Studios film made after WW II. It was from a novel by Compton McKenzie, and was very good. In the U.S. it was called "Tight Little Island."



    Does anyone know anything about the transportation of the crew and actors out to the island? I am interested in a Captain Geoffrey Last (whom I met in the early 1950s) and who ferried at least some of the people (including the author) in his Rapide.

    He said he landed them on the sand.



    Thank you - Olive

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    This film made a lasting impression upon me aeons ago when I chanced to catch it on latenight television. I have never seen it available on any format to purchase along with a long list of brit films I have been enchanted with in the past. I know I don't begin to have a response for your query, but I would be most grateful to be put on the trail of a good source for acquiring british films online

    Thank you Olive, and good luck

    ----------Lookfar <O><O>

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    Senior Member Country: England sanndevil's Avatar
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    Originally posted by olive smith@Feb 6 2005, 12:06 AM

    This was an Ealing Studios film made after WW II. It was from a novel by Compton McKenzie, and was very good. In the U.S. it was called "Tight Little Island."



    Does anyone know anything about the transportation of the crew and actors out to the island? I am interested in a Captain Geoffrey Last (whom I met in the early 1950s) and who ferried at least some of the people (including the author) in his Rapide.

    He said he landed them on the sand.



    Thank you - Olive
    Hi Olive - I can't answer your question directly I'm afraid. But, if you want to capture the spirit of the shoot and how it affected the islanders, you should check out an episode of "BIG SCREEN BRITAIN" which concentrated on Whisky Galore. The show, a mere 10 minutes in length, places presenter Ben Fogle on the island where he interviews some of the locals who were either in the film or helped with the shoot. The documentary is more atmospheric than insightful with some beautiful shots of the landscape. It even shows Fogle landing on the beach by aircraft - apparently the only scheduled flight in the world which lands on a tidal beach! :grin:



    Cheers

    Nigel

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Myths galore in island whisky tale



    GEORGE MAIR





    WHISKY Galore author Sir Compton Mackenzie has been accused of painting a false picture of life in the Western Isles to bolster his own reputation as a founder of the SNP.



    The claim is made in a new publication of the book Scotch on the Rocks, which tells the true story behind Whisky Galore.





    Mackenzie's bestseller is based on the real-life story of the wrecking of the SS Politician during the Second World War. The ship, bound for the United States, was carrying 22,000 cases - 240,000 bottles - of duty-free malt whisky, when it foundered off Eriskay in the Western Isles in 1941. Some 5,000 cases of the whisky were "liberated" by the islanders.



    In a new introduction to Arthur Swinson's book, his daughter Antonia claims that on the islands, she "encountered strong feelings that Mackenzie's book had done them a disservice". She adds that even 58 years after Whisky Galore was published, islanders still felt cheated by Mackenzie's portrayal of them.



    She said: "This unlikely founder of the Scottish National Party - in real life an actor's son from West Hartlepool - had concocted a Gaelic-speaking paradise of canny peasant crofters to bolster his own successful reinvention as a patrician Scot, fixing the Hebrides for all time in a feudal, tourist timewarp."



    Ms Swinson said that in researching for the book, she found the reality of the event strikingly different to a visitor reared on the novel Whisky Galore, and the 1949 Ealing comedy which followed it.



    She said: "The SS Politician was no puffer boat, but a 7,900-ton cargo ship, and a key player in the nation's merchant fleet.



    "The channel where it hit the rocks is narrow, the waters shallow enough to have made the ship tower over the islanders' small craft with their swinging Tilly lamps.



    "The islanders themselves would have been not the jolly rogues of Brigadoon caricature, but literate, thinking individuals, part of a cohesive community imbued with highly evolved, business-like values of integrity and self-reliance.



    "In 1941, despite the shortages, they would also have been economically far better off than many of their rationed countrymen on the mainland, with plentiful supplies of herring, meat and eggs. Major shipwrecks and the resulting stimulus to the local economy were also far from uncommon."



    Mackenzie was regarded as one of the most promising writing talents of his generation and went to great lengths to trace the steps of his ancestors back to his spiritual home in the Highlands, and built a house on Barra in the 1930s.



    He became a co-founder of the Scottish National Party in 1932, when the National Party of Scotland, of which he was a member, merged with the Scottish Party.



    �€� Scotch on the Rocks by Arthur Swinson, featuring a new introduction by Antonia Swinson, is published by Luath Press on 28 November.

  11. #11
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (DB7 @ Nov 9 2005, 02:07 PM)

    Myths galore in island whisky tale



    GEORGE MAIR

    WHISKY Galore author Sir Compton Mackenzie has been accused of painting a false picture of life in the Western Isles to bolster his own reputation as a founder of the SNP.



    [snip]
    A well balanced view - a chip on each shoulder



    It's difficult with any Scottish story. They tend to fall into one of the twin traps of "Tartanry or Kaleyard".

    They're either too twee with images like the piper on a tim of shortbread.

    Or they're too rough and gritty.



    But I don't see what they're really complaining about with Whisky galore. The cargo ship did tower above the islanders' small craft.

    They weren't painted as twee yokels or on the brink of starvation. They only ran out of whisky and they were certainly sharp enough to fool Capt. Waggett.



    Steve

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    I'm curious about Compton Mackenzie's contribution to the TV series, MONARCH OF THE GLEN. The opening credits say that the show is based on his Highland novels. What are these? Has anyone read them? Do they include the same set-up, Archie being coorced into becoming the Laird? Do they even include the characters of Archie, his father and mother, the various locals? Or do they provide only background colour of a general nature...?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Compton wrote a series of Highland novels, one of which was entitled Monarch of the Glen. Not watched the series but I presume it draws on the books for inspiration and by this stage is using contemporary scripts. He was also a member of the secret services during WWI and got in trouble for breaking the official decrets act when writing his memoirs.

  14. #14
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    Must-have movies: Whisky Galore



    Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 26/01/2007



    Marc Lee reviews a classic that every film-lover will want to own



    As hundreds of Devon beachcombers scrambled over the Branscombe shingle this week, helping themselves to everything from BMW bikes and wine barrels to nappies and hand cream, one of the best-loved British movies sprang to mind, evoking a warm-hearted nostalgia for more innocent times.



    However, the Scottish island folk of Whisky Galore! are even more determined than the hordes who plundered those washed-up containers this week. They take boats out to a stricken vessel lying off the (fictitious) Isle of Todday and unload as many of the 50,000 cases of booze on board as they can, seconds before the ship capsizes, and then play cat-and-mouse with Customs and Excise officers for days.



    That said, it's hard to begrudge the islanders their loot. Whisky provides one of only two distractions in a Calvinist community so strictly Sabbatarian that they wait a whole day before rowing out to the ship. (The other "simple pleasure" is alluded to as a smiling couple watch their nine children running out to play.)



    Director Alexander Mackendrick, US-born but raised in Scotland, deftly translates Compton MacKenzie's novel – based on a real-life wartime incident in the Outer Hebrides – on to the big screen. The sunny, windswept locations are gorgeous, the black-and-white photography lending them a stark purity (this despite appalling shooting conditions which meant that the production went way over budget).



    The first-rate cast includes foxy Joan Greenwood as a spirited local girl toying with the emotions of an English soldier, James Robertson Justice as the cantankerous village doctor, and a fresh-faced Gordon Jackson weak with love for the shopkeeper's daughter.







    If many of the locals bear a strong resemblance to John Laurie's dour, lugubrious Private Frazer in Dad's Army, Basil Radford, as the Englishman in command of the island's Home Guard brigade, is an uncanny pre-echo of Arthur Lowe's pompous, spluttering Capt Mainwaring.



    Whisky Galore! was one of three Ealing comedies released in 1949 (the others were Passport to Pimlico and Kind Hearts and Coronets), and remains by far the sharpest, freshest and most resonant. Events in Devon this week probably explain why.

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    And a great film. I am happy that the Ealing Collection came out and hopeful that's only the beginning.

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    Taken from a real life event I believe. I think I read that some of the villagers were given short prison terms!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim
    Taken from a real life event I believe. I think I read that some of the villagers were given short prison terms!
    Yes Jim, the story was inspired by a real event, which was featured in a recent episode of Coast on BBC2. If you are interested, I have attached an article relating to the original incident.



    BBC NEWS | Scotland | Highlands and Islands | 'Whisky' sailor returns to island



    Phil Turner

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Turner
    Yes Jim, the story was inspired by a real event, which was featured in a recent episode of Coast on BBC2. If you are interested, I have attached an article relating to the original incident.



    BBC NEWS | Scotland | Highlands and Islands | 'Whisky' sailor returns to island



    Phil Turner
    In addition, the "special edition" DVD release of Whisky Galore also contains a documentary telling the whole story.



    rgds

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Turner
    Yes Jim, the story was inspired by a real event, which was featured in a recent episode of Coast on BBC2. If you are interested, I have attached an article relating to the original incident.



    BBC NEWS | Scotland | Highlands and Islands | 'Whisky' sailor returns to island



    Phil Turner
    Cheers Phil,



    I thought I had read it somewhere. I always think that it's right to take stuff 'washed up' on shore, but wrong to plunder the vessel.. As for gypping the Revenuers - well that's perfectly OK by Me!!!!

  20. #20
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    I was in favor of patches, bandana'd hair, sabres between their teeth and all claims of "abandoned vessel on the high seas".



    Or maybe, "We saw Count Dracula leave the ship with coffins of dirt - we were merely removing all other boxes in hopes of preventing his return for more of his desecrated soil. For all we knew, it was desecrated whiskey so we thought it best to put crucifixes on them and dispose of it the best way possible..."



    "For the common good" should have been their defense! It was good. Commonly good, too.

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