In 1688, William, Prince of Orange, accepted an invitation to take the throne of England, glad to enlist English help in his wars with France. The Scottish Parliament was more cautious and invited letters from him and James VII (ousted as James II of England). When the arrogant response from James persuaded the Scots to accept William, John Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundee, led Scottish Highlanders in Jacobite uprisings in an attempt to return the throne to James. Dundee was killed at the Battle of Killiecrankie, and the rising in Scotland suffered inconclusive defeat by Scottish Cameronian forces at the Battle of Dunkeld. On their way home from this battle the MacIains of Glencoe (a sept of Clan MacDonald), together with their Glengarry cousins, looted the lands of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon and stole his livestock, increasing his problems with gambling debts and forcing him to take an army commission to provide for his family. In his subsequent appeal for compensation, Campbell showed he clearly believed the Glengarry men to be the more culpable, making no mention of Glencoe. See more »
Oidhche mhath leibh.
[Good night to you]
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This is an excellent treatment of a notorious incident in Scottish history. We know exactly what's going to happen - it's in the title. But this looming sense of dread balances out any couthiness in the film.
It also avoids being a complete melodrama, by showing the perpetrators as human beings, the complexities and accidents that led to the situation etc. The baddies are conflicted, to say the least. (Cynics would say that's because it's directed by a Campbell!) This makes it a much more rounded film.
Much of the film is on location, with outdoor scenes in Glencoe itself.
The film is actually very short... under an hour. It makes an excellent companion piece to Peter Watkin's "mockumentary" Culloden. And no, it doesn't blame the English for everything either...
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