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Thursday, July 28, 2011

321. Whisky Galore

    Far be it from me to give a naked advert to a movie company but I have to tip my hat in the direction of Optimum Releasing this summer.
    It has dipped into Studio Canal's vast archive at Pinewood and come up with clutch of classics which are being shown on the big screen.
    I've already reviewed The Lavender Hill Mob and Ice Cold In Alex and today was the turn of Whisky Galore.
    This is a restoration of Alexander Mackendrick's 1949 movie, loosely based on the story of the SS Politician which sank off an island on the Outer Hebrides in 1941 with 250,000 bottles of whisky on board.
    Here, the ship is the SS Cabinet Minister (see the link?) and the story is more or less the same - the island locals aim to snaffle the booze before the authorities arrive.
    Whisky Galore has a cast which have a couple of things in  common - many went on to be significant stars and all of those died before the age of 70.
    In fact, Basil Radford passed away just three years after the film's release.
    Radford plays the head of the home guard on the island and makes it his business to try to protect the whisky. Of course, no one else is in his corner - they are just up for having a good time.
    I haven't read up on this but I'm sure that Arthur Lowe must have based his Captain Mainwaring character in Dad's Army on Radford's Captain Waggett. The similarities are uncanny.
    Also to the fore are a youthful Gordon Jackson, a surprisingly friendly James Robertson Justice, John Gregson and the local tease Joan Greenwood.
    It's all a bit of a lark and has the typical fast-pace and dramatic music of the Ealing comedies of the time.
    However, it falls down horribly on the local accents. Robertson Justice and Greenwood have particular shockers.
    I couldn't tell whether they were trying to be Scottish or Irish. In fact, they were so inconsistent they seemed to change as the film went on.
    Nevertheless, it's all knockabout fun and took me back to those days of watching black and white films on Sunday afternoon at my gran and grandad's house.
    I'll give it a rating of 7/10 and say thanks to Optimum for the screener.

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321. Whisky Galore

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