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Saturday, March 22, 2014

BRIGADOON

After a rough day of moving some stuff to 15 Craigside, I took a long bath with a glass of Lagavulin scotch, entertained by a wireless speaker playing my iPod music.  On came the theme from Brigadoon, and in one of those moments that overwhelms you, I felt I just had to see the movie, which, appropriately enough, is a Scottish fantasy flick.  Click on Roku 1 and Roku 3, to understand the system, which through Amazon, got me directly to this film in a minute, and was FREE.

Sixty years ago came a supernatural musical, Brigadoon, starring Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse  (voice of Carol Richards) and Van Johnson, directed by Vincent Minnelli and produced by Arthur Freed.  The movie was based on an Alan Jay Lerner (who also wrote the book) and Frederick Loewe Broadway show in 1947.   There was a re-make in 1966, a TV film (yes, you can see the entire version here) with Robert Goulet, Peter Falk and Sally Ann Howes, garnering five Emmy Awards.


So, back to my 1954 film:


Unfortunately, with all the delays and thriftiness, the production did not bother to involve Scotland and was filmed in the MGM Hollywood sound studio using the cheaper kind of Cinemascope.  


Thus, what I saw on my TV was a thin band across the screen.  The finished effort was a bit flat, but did get three Academy Award nominations and a Golden Globe.  Rotten Tomatoes reviewers rated it at 83%.

I've golfed at various venues in Scotland and now and then wondered what if I hit a ball out of bounds and found myself in Brigadoon.  Well, Kelly and Johnson, well-to-do Americans, are on a hunting trip, get lost, and find this mythical village called Brigadoon, that appears for one day every hundred years:


The Lerner/Loewe songs were particularly memorable:



Van Johnson was the weak link and seemed out of place.  His timing was off and delivery vacant.  A Peter Falk-like actor might have served better.

This is horribly short-cutting the story, but Johnson, who plays Jeff Douglas, accidentally shoots and kills an angry occupant of this village, Harry Beaton, who was running away.  If Beaton succeeded, Brigadoon would have vanished.  The whole thing is far-fetched, of course, but a more sensible ending would have been Kelly, as Tommy Albright, staying (because he returns anyway to marry Cyd Charisse, as Fiona Campbell--which means he's stuck in Brigadoon for the rest of his life) and Beaton, through some creative excuse, could have been allowed to pursue his dreams in America, returning with Douglas, and maybe linking with Elaine Stewart, as Albright's American fiancee, Jane Ashton (left), who kind of looks like Fiona.  the logic is sound:  one for one.   Now that would be a Hollywood ending.  Then I could imagine a sequel.   If all this sounds too confusing, watch the movie.

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