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Archive for August 10th, 2012

96. Whisky Galore

by Allan Fish

(UK 1949 82m) DVD2

Aka. Tight Little Island

Mourning for a departed spirit

p  Monja Danischewsky  d  Alexander Mackendrick  w  Compton Mackenzie, Angus MacPhail  novel  Compton Mackenzie  ph  Gerald Gibbs, Chick Waterson  ed  Joseph Sterling  m  Ernest Irving  art  Jim Morahan

Basil Radford (Capt.Waggett), Bruce Seton (Sgt.Odd), Joan Greenwood (Peggy Macroon), Gordon Jackson (George Campbell), Jean Cadell (Mrs Campbell), James Robertson Justice (Dr MacLaren), Catherine Lacey (Dolly Waggett), John Gregson (Sammy MacCodrun), Wylie Watson (Joseph Macroon), Gabrielle Blunt (Catriona Macroon), Morland Graham (The Biffer), Duncan Macrae (Angus MacCormac), Henry Mollison (Farquharson), Compton Mackenzie (Capt.Buncher), Finlay Currie (narrator),

Alexander Mackendrick’s directorial debut often gets overlooked these days in examinations of Ealing comedies.  Just one glance at the DVD box set in 2004 will show that while the likes of the uninspiring The Magnet is included, Galore gets left out.  It’s a film influenced by the mystical feel of Michael Powell’s The Edge of the World, and in the opening sequence Flaherty’s Man of Aran, and which has been influential itself to the varied likes of The Maggie, Local Hero, Hamish Macbeth, The Wicker Man and even Breaking the Waves.  This is the Scottish islands as we know and love them.

During the war a cargo ship, the SS Cabinet Minister (a wonderful alias for the real life wreck of the SS Politician on the isle of Eriskay that inspired the book and film) gets shipwrecked on the ragged coasts of the remote Hebridean island of Todday.  The island in question is in great sorrow following the complete absence of whisky on the island due to the wartime rations, but the islanders soon buck up when they realise that the SS Cabinet Minister’s cargo was 50,000 cases of whisky. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1996 210m) DVD2

Why must I be a teenager in love?

p  Kenith Tridd  d  Renny Rye  w  Dennis Potter  ph  Ashley Rowe  ed  Clare Douglas  m  Christopher Gunning  art  Gary Williamson

Albert Finney (Daniel Feeld), Richard E.Grant (Nick Balmer), Saffron Burrows (Sandra Sollars), Keeley Hawes (Linda Langer), Hywel Bennett (Arthur ‘Pig’ Mallion), Alison Steadman (Mrs Haynes), Anna Chancellor (Anna Griffiths), Julie Christie (Lady Ruth Balmer), Roy Hudd (Ben Baglin), Ian McDiarmid (Oliver Morse), Liz Smith (Mrs Baglin), Steven Mackintosh, Natascha McElhone, Beth Goddard, Ewan McGregor,

In early 1994, a month after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given months to live, Dennis Potter gave a unique valedictory interview with Melvyn Bragg.  In it, while discussing his life, his fears, his hopes and his work, the discussion got on to what would be his final work, written ten pages a day while taking morphine to numb the pain as much as could be without rendering him mentally incapable of writing.  At the point of the interview he’d all but written Karaoke and presented a dying wish, as it were, that the BBC and Channel 4 would come together to make it and its sequel Cold Lazarus, each premiering one and repeating the other.  He got his wish, and Karaoke showed on BBC1 in 1996, two years after his death, and was repeated the following week on Channel 4, with the process reversed for Cold Lazarus straight after.  The irony is that the copyright problems this once in a lifetime arrangement presented delayed a DVD until 2010.

Daniel Feeld is an author who finds out he’s suffering from cancer (pancreatic, naturally), and who is stunned to find that people in his real life are saying words from his latest script ‘Karaoke’.  He becomes obsessed with a young girl, Sandra, who is under the thumb of a sadistic underworld club owner nicknamed ‘Pig’ (just as in his play), much to the distress of his agent, Ben Baglin.  Meanwhile, his script is in production and its director, Nick Balmer, wants to change portions of it to favour his obsession with leading lady Linda Langer, a raw, not especially talented girl who, it later transpires, has been planted there to blackmail him by none other than the same ‘Pig’.  (more…)

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