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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Most of the heather used in the film was really sumac spray-painted purple. See more »
During the wedding procession the drummers' actions do not match the cadence. See more »
[last lines; Tommy's love has re-awakened Brigadoon]
Tommy lad, you! My, my! You must really love her. You woke me up.
[He gestures to Tommy]
[Tommy slowly crosses the bridge to Mr. Lundie, then looks about him, confused]
You shouldna be too surprised. I told ye... if you love someone deeply enough, anything is possible.
[Tommy stares down the road towards Brigadoon]
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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 the story)!!
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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