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Friday, July 22, 2016

Brigadoon (1954)

A New Yorker (Gene Kelly) vacationing with his best friend (Van Johnson) in Scotland gets lost in the Highlands and come across a small village that seems out of step with time. And for good reason ..... it comes alive only every 100 years! Based on the 1947 hit musical with songs by Lerner & Loewe (MY FAIR LADY), the director Vincente Minnelli wanted to shoot the film on actual Scottish locations but MGM decided it was to be shot on the MGM sound stages instead. I think MGM was right. This is a whimsical fairy tale, not a realistic musical, and the obvious recreations of the Highlands on a massive sound stage only adds to the film's ethereal quality. You'd never know this was Minnelli's first film in the newly arrived CinemaScope format as he composes the framing like a master, particularly the wedding sequence. On the downside, the Scottish whimsy gets tired very quickly and one is grateful for the one liners of Van Johnson's cynical unbeliever which provide an alternative to the treacle. I guess I'm rather schizophrenic about the film. On one hand I'm charmed by it but on the other hand, its preciousness grates on my nerves. But the songs are good and Kelly's choreography is first rate. With Cyd Charisse, Elaine Stewart, Barry Jones, Albert Sharpe and Virginia Bosler. 

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