|Page 2 of 4:||   |
|Index||35 reviews in total|
Scottish islanders try to plunder 50,000 cases of whiskey from a
This was Alexander Mackendrick's directorial debut, and a solid one at that. There is humor, to be sure, and something of a dark humor at that. Apparently, Scotland is a dreary place when whiskey and cigarettes are scarce.
But although I liked it, I think I missed something, because it did not jump out at me as anything much beyond the average films of the day. I guess maybe I should watch it again or in the context of Mackendrick's career, but oh well.
When I saw this film was made by Ealing Studios, I jumped at the chance to see it. That's because following WWII, this small studio made a long string of cute little gems--all with exquisite writing, acting and direction--and on shoestring budgets. Their Alec Guinness films and PASSPORT TO PIMLICO are some of the very best films of the era. So I wasn't surprised when I found I also enjoyed this slight little film about a town that ran out of whisky (the Scottish spelling) and their attempts to smuggle in a new supply of drink. Once again, the very simple story was deftly handled and it was quite entertaining. There were only two drawbacks--neither one might affect you personally. The first was the language. While I watch tons of British television and movies, I, like most Americans have a much harder time understanding Scottish accents than English accents. I really would have loved subtitles or closed captioning, but the videotape I saw had neither. Secondly, the quality of the print was really lousy. Both these problems can be blamed on Critic's Choice Videos. I've seen other films from them and must say they produce among the WORST quality videotapes--try to find ANY other brand.
This film was shot in part in the New Hebrides Islands and those island
folk have little enough to do to relax and unwind. So the Scots
congregate at the local pub, looks like few even have a radio. So when
World War II comes spirits among other things are put on a quota. Four
bottles a month for the pub. War is hell, but this is ridiculous.
So when the HMS Cabinet Minister founders and eventually sinks and its cargo being a few tons in crates containing whiskey it's manna from heaven. A way to endure the war so to speak. If only that pompous idiot Basil Radford of the local home guard would stop thinking he's in the Coast Guard and try to spoil all the fun.
In a role that would have been ideal for Cecil Parker Radford does well in the part. He plays it absolutely straight, he's a man just doing his duty as he sees it. Trouble is he just can't convince anyone else.
Another favorite in the screen in total sympathy with Radford's temperance crusade is Jean Cadell, a stern Scot's Presbyterian woman if there ever was one. Not even to break the Sabbath will she allow her grown son Gordon Jackson out to salvage the cargo. Jackson who is on leave after serving in North Africa is going against this formidable woman.
So it's Whiskey Galore for the lucky people here and Ealing Studios came up with a real winner in their comedy stable. Whiskey Galore holds up remarkably well today.
The film is based on a true wartime incident, but I doubt it was as much fun as this film was.
WHISKY GALORE! is one of the films that helped to cement Ealing
Studios's reputation as a fine leading purveyor of British comedies.
It's a memorable production that was of course based on the true story
of a cargo ship becoming wrecked off the coast of Scotland and shedding
its cargo of whisky bottles to the delight of the local populace.
What plays out is straightforward stuff indeed; there's not a great deal of narrative structure or plot here as this is for the most part a character piece. The viewer sits back and watches how each of the characters reacts to the unusual situation as the officials try to retrieve the stolen whisky while the locals try to hide their ill-gotten games. It's the sort of film that can write itself, if I'm honest, but the cast make it work.
Basil Radford (without his comic partner Naunton Wayne for a change) is fine as the stressed-out captain tasked with retrieving the cargo. A youthful Gordon Jackson is all smiles and James Robertson Justice typically larger than life as the doctor. Joan Greenwood in particular makes an impact as the wife of one of the islanders. WHISKY GALORE! is a farce that works thanks to a fast pace and plenty of little twists in the narrative to keep you watching, and crucially it's also funny in the dated, genteel English way.
Whisky Galore! is generally regarded as the typical charming and
whimsical Ealing comedy pitting the common people against the forces of
bureaucracy and high mindedness.
Directed by the American Alexander Mackendrick who had a sly eye for such waggish stories. When a cargo of whisky is shipwrecked near a small Outer Hebrides island, the local villagers, already out of whisky rations set about taking as much of the stock from the stricken ship before the authorities get wind.
Basil Radford plays the Home Guard's Captain Waggett, an Englishman who tries to keep order from what he sees as anarchy and find the stolen whisky which by now is cunningly hidden by the villagers.
The villagers just want to have fun during wartime rationing and rally together by sticking two fingers at the face of authority. A classic case of Ealing's anti establishment streak which works well in a remote island community which by the way still strictly observes Sunday. Of course Gordon Jackson is in it, a young man with a domineering mother.
Although the tale is amiable, it is also modest. It is more of a culture clash comedy as Captain Waggett behaves in an arch way and not trying to understand the locals.
A good whisky needs time to fully express itself; drinking it without its having reached its maturity just won't do. Well, like a great whisky, this film has developed itself over time. Already 65 years old, and that is certainly a long period of ageing, "Whisky Galore" is still crisp, certain, subtle and appealing, what you would expect both a great spirit and a great film to be. Like the perfect sip, it gets ahold of you from the very beginning, captivating the drinker (or the viewer) with calculated pace and timing, keeping your interest from start to finish. The movie deals easily with complex issues, such as the relation between parents and offspring, military and civilian, State and folk, always leaning towards the weaker. Ever gentle, it will make you smile and leave you with a nice reminiscence lingering for a long time: once again, just as a glass of the best scotch would do. Cheers!
This little movie has over the years grown into a real small classic.
This is all due to the movie its simplicity and it being a small one.
It makes it easy to like this movie and pleasant to watch, from
basically start till finish.
This is an early 'modern' comedy, without any slapstick moments or screwball story lines or characters. This movie is more like a comedy that still gets made this present time. It requires some fine acting and comedy timing from the director and editor, which is all being good in this movie.
It has a rather simplistic concept, that got based on a true story. Just imaging an island full of Scottish, craving for the next shipload of whiskey, in the midst of WW II. When there is a stranded ship near the coast with 50,000 cases of whiskey aboard they see their big chance. However an uptight home guard stands in their way and they islanders must do their very best to keep the bottles and cases hidden on the small island.
It's basically a fun little movie to watch and to kill some time with (it's quite short anyway) but quite honest I wouldn't call it a classic or anything.
(55%) A super cosy little British comedy that has grown to become a national favourite mainly owing to its bags of charm and almost time capsule likened look at Britain's wartime past. For me this is more quaint than funny, but watching it is like being wrapped in a winter warming blanket. The performances are fine with the almost ever present in films from this ere Gordon Jackson, while Joan Greenwood is almost hypnotic in her memorable performance as the love interest. After the ship is plundered the movie becomes much more fun and entertaining to watch, with its two fingered salute to the rules and the people who make them. Fans of classic British comedy that haven't already seen this should without doubt track it down.
On 5 February 1941, the SS Politician, en route to Jamaica, sank during
bad weather off the coast of Eriskay, in the Outer Hebrides. It was
carrying 250,000 bottles of whisky, which the locals gleefully looted
before authorities arrived. Bottles still surface to this day, carried
in by the tides to the beach. It must be a wonderful place to live.
Whisky Galore!, an adaptation of the novel based on the true incident by Compton Mackenzie, uses the same premise, but - importantly - the interlopers (or "meddling colonialists"), in the shape of Basil Radford's Captain Waggett and his Home Guard, are already in place.
On the Island of Todday whisky is everything - the "water of life" binding the community together. When wartime rationing spells its depletion, the locals are only too delighted to relieve the "SS Cabinet Minister" of its cargo. Confrontation between the wily Islanders battling (literally) for survival, the pompous, uncomprehending Captain (a forerunner to Dad's Army's Captain Mainwaring), and the Gestapo-like Customs and Excise men is a foregone conclusion.
To Ealing head Michael Balcon's consternation, the movie was produced by a novice (Ealing's publicist Monja Danischewsky) and helmed by first-time director Alexander Mackendrick, emerging over-budget, due to (coincidentally enough) bad weather. Mackendrick, a strict Scottish Calvinist, also deliberately imposed a moralistic comeuppance-style ending.
But Balcon shouldn't have worried. Scarily similar to The Wicker Man in places, this wonderful movie is a joy to watch from start to finish, with Basil Radford, in particular, in his element. A reminder, if one were needed, that classic British cinema doesn't begin and end South of the border, this one - like whisky - will bring a warm glow to your cheeks.
Glancing through the other comments, it would appear that the most negative response to this one is the suggestion that it wouldn't be much fun to view more than once. Having just seen it for the first time, I can only say that I would happily watch it next week, proving only that it's just about impossible to get complete agreement on anything. For this viewer, the fact that the setup here is so simple means that a great deal of the humor depends on timing and delivery, and this cast obviously relish the job at hand. In fact, some of it seems so obvious that it almost shouldn't be funny even the first time around - but it is not only funny, it's out-and-out hilarious. I think that there was a tendency of light films of this era to try and stretch the feel-good created by the humor to imply that all is, after all, really right with the world, something perhaps easier to believe in 1949 than in 2006. Possibly that wears thin for some, but why split hairs? In my experience, comedy is the most difficult genre for getting a consensus; many of my best friends, for instance, love Woody Allen, the very sight of whom who gives me (and many others) an almighty pain. With that in mind, the fact that everyone who has commented agrees that this movie is very funny - at least once - seems in itself quite remarkable.
|Page 2 of 4:||   |
|External reviews||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|