Two Americans on a hunting trip in Scotland become lost. They encounter a small village, not on the map, called Brigadoon, in which people harbor a mysterious secret, and behave as if they were still living two hundred years in the past.
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Americans Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas, on a hunting vacation in Scotland, discover a quaint and beautiful village, Brigadoon. Strangely, the village is not on any map, and soon Tommy and Jeff find out why: Brigadoon is an enchanted place. It appears once every hundred years for one day, then disappears back into the mists of time, to wake up to its next day a century hence. When Tommy falls in love with Fiona, a girl of the village, he realizes that she can never be part of his life back in America. Can he be part of hers in Brigadoon? Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
This Vincent Minelli musical is usually considered a flop, which is
unfair. Gene Kelly wanted to shoot it on site in Scotland (where
Brigadoon is set), but it was vetoed as too expensive. So Minelli had
to create a magical, 18th Century Scottish village on a studio set. He
also was using cinema scope for the first time, and felt it lacked the
compositional unity and beauty of the regular film he had been using.
It is apparent it's a set, but the story and music is so superior
(despite the lack of two songs, including my favorite - "My Mother's
Wedding Day") that one can actually forget the artificiality of the
set. Moreover, the actual issue of artificial sets seems ridiculous
when considering the story. If the set was actually realistic, the film
would have had to be shot in one day, because the set would have
vanished for a century at the end of the day (as the village does in
Except for one five minute sequence at the end of the film, set in a
noisy New York City nightspot, most of the film is set in the Scottish
highlands. Tommy (Gene Kelly) and Jeff (Van Johnson) are vacationing in
Scotland, when they stumble into a village that is not on their maps.
The village is Brigadoon. It is later explained by the village elder,
Mr Lundie (Barry Johns) that the village was granted a special wish of
it's very religious minister to preserve it forever by having it only
reappear once a century, so the people in it would never be hurt. There
is, however, another side to the deal: the citizens have to remain (as
well as their livestock) within the boundaries of the town by sundown,
because they go to bed early, and awake one hundred years later the
next day. If any decides to leave the town's boundaries, that person
will cause the wish and blessing to dissipate, and the town will be
destroyed and it's citizens destroyed.
BRIGADOON is a very colorful and tuneful show, and a nice blend of
humor and tragedy. It also asks what people require for happiness:
simplicity or sophisticated modern life. Jeff would opt for the latter
(and he does quite strenuously up to the conclusion of the movie), but
he is a confirmed alcoholic - some advertisement for modern
civilization and it's benefits! Tommy is more inquisitive and easier -
and he finds he is not so happy with modern life. But the search for
happiness is not an easy one, and it takes a tragedy and much soul
searching for Tommy to reach his conclusion.
And there is the music, especially Learner and Lowe's "The Heather On
the Hill" (attractively sung and danced by Kelly and Charisse), and
"It's Almost Like Being In Love." A failure by Minelli? Well it's not
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, or GIGI, or THE PIRATE but it is far better than
many other musicals.
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