Friday, 14 August 2009

Whisky Galore

1949 - Dir: Alexander Mackendrick

Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 27th September, 2003
The first film to be shown using the Society's newly installed 35mm projector

"Whisky Galore" was filmed on the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, as far from Ealing yet still in the British Isles as possible. That it was made on location at all was entirely due to the fact that the studios were fully booked at the time of shooting. It was the first movie Monja Danischewsky produced and the first Alexander Mackendrick had directed. Mackendrick, a strict Presbyterian, fell out with the producer over the latter's romantic vision of a remote community fighting foreign interference, but Danischewsky got his way and the film is light and whimsical. The production went heavily over budget (by some £20,000, a fleabite by today's standards, but virtually a hanging matter at Ealing). The main reason was not the inexperience of the production team but the weather, the summer of 1948 being one of the legendarily awful ones.
The story was adapted from the novel by Compton Mackenzie, a prolific and imaginative Scottish novelist, and a well-known figure in the islands, where he had a home. It was based on a true incident, when a cargo ship (the S.S.Politician) had foundered off the Isle of Eriskay. Some 50,000 cases of Scotch destined for the United States were aboard. The author himself wrote the screenplay in association with Angus MacPhail, and even played a small part in the film. We are told in the film's epilogue that the whisky did not last long and that the islanders of Todday lived unhappily ever after - a concession to the strictly applied morality code enforced on films shown in America. Even the title was unacceptable in America and so it became "Tight Little Island". In France the film was called "Whisky, a Go-Go", and enjoyed such success that a night club was opened bearing the name.

No comments:

Post a Comment